Sunday, October 18, 2020

Breast milk and the marketing of breast milk substitutes during the pandemic


Here's an article in the Lancet:

Marketing of breastmilk substitutes during the COVID-19 pandemic by Christoffer van Tulleken, Charlotte Wright, Amy Brown, David McCoy, and Anthony Costello, October 08, 2020DOI:

"It is of concern that the US$70 billion infant formula industry has been actively exploiting concerns about COVID-19 to increase sales, in violation of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (the Code)1 and national law in many countries.

"Globally, infants who are not exclusively breastfed are 14 times more likely to die than infants who are exclusively breastfed.2 Lockdown measures have diminished household income, and the UN World Food Programme estimates that by the end of 2020, 265 million people may be facing food insecurity,3,  4 making breastfeeding even more important. Public bodies that are independent of industry influence, including WHO5,  6 and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health,7 have unanimously asserted that no evidence exists to suggest breastfeeding increases the risk of infants contracting COVID-19, and that skin-to-skin contact remains essential for newborn health and maternal health.

"By contrast, large manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes have inappropriately positioned themselves as sources of public health expertise, and suggested various unnecessary hygiene measures, the use of expressed breastmilk, and the separation of mothers from their babies. Such recommendations undermine breastfeeding and thus increase the risk of infant death. Baby Milk Action and the International Baby Food Action Network8 have documented numerous infringements of both the Code and laws associated with COVID-19."

No comments: