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Deadly Baby Formula Killing Children

In the Philippines, only 16 percent of children between 4 and 5 months old are exclusively breastfed.

This percentage has fallen by a third since 1998, and it is one of the lowest documented rates on earth.

Combined with the fact that 70 percent of Filipinos have inadequate access to clean water, 16,000 Filipino children die each year as a result of "inappropriate feeding practices."

Much of the responsibility for the decline in breastfeeding lies with the manufacturers of baby formula. Baby formula companies spend over $100 million each year advertising breastmilk substitutes in the Philippines, which is more than half the annual budget of the Philippines' Department of Health.

Powdered milk now accounts for more sales than any other consumer product in the Philippines, and some families spend as much as a third of their income on these products.

In 2006, the Department of Health issued a new set of rules prohibiting advertising and promotion of infant formula for children up to 2 years old. After lobbying from the U.S. embassy, the U.S. regional trade representative, and the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, a restraining order has been put in place effectively preventing the rule from taking effect.

After a senior government lawyer, Nestor Ballocillo, tried to contest the order, he and his son were shot dead while walking from their home in a case that remains unsolved. Ballocillo was working on several contentious cases at the time.

The Guardian June 5, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Filippino mothers and their babies are paying a hefty price for advertising promoting powdered baby formulas over breastfeeding. Their government, as well as the UN, blames the manufacturers of formulas and their deceptive marketing practices for the drastic decline in breastfeeding.

In an attempt to thwart the health crisis, the Philippines' Department of Health decided to ban both baby formula advertising and training classes to mothers that are administered by formula manufacturers.

The pushback is extreme. The U.S. embassy, the U.S. regional trade representative and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have all started lobbying and pressuring the government of the Philippines to amend their new rules. Seems no matter how much our leaders talk about improving health and helping the impoverished, they will only listen to themselves as long as it doesn't infringe on profits.

Nestle and Gerber Do Not Equal Healthy Babies

continues to be one of the main culprits in dissuading third-world mothers from breastfeeding, in order to line their own pockets with blood money. Campaigners first called for a boycott of Nestle back in 1977 to try to limit their dirty marketing techniques in these poor countries. Thirty years later, it is crystal clear that it has done nothing to stop them, even though they are still one of the most boycotted brands in the world.

Unfortunately, infant formulas are still a popular choice here in the United States as well. I strongly advocate breastfeeding if at all possible. If for some reason you're unable to breastfeed, however, please read the Healthy Alternative to Conventional Infant Formula for advice on how to make homemade baby formula.

Avoid soy infant formulas at all costs.

Gerber, which in many people's minds still go hand in hand with the image of "healthy baby", was recently gobbled up by Nestle. However, Gerber baby cereal never was, and never will be, a real contender against breast milk or homemade baby food.

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