Mary Champeny Profile picture
Jul 11, 2018 19 tweets 14 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The WHA breastfeeding resolution was just the tip of the policy iceberg- language in an obscure int'l food standard will have huge implications for infant nutrition. You bet formula companies are in on the fight. @juliaoftoronto provides a primer:…
Advocates are preparing for a mtg on the Standard for Follow-Up Formula this November. The voices of rich countries tend to drown out all others in these policy forums. Here's a brief on the issues, and what positions are in the interest of public health:…
Confused about "follow-up" formula or "toddler" milk and how it's different from infant fromula? So are a lot of people. That's by design:
Why does this confusion matter? Bc "follow-up" fmlas look & cost about the same as infant fmla, but their ingredients are different- NOT safe/appropriate for young infants. And kids don't need a special formula once they get older- infant formula works fine, or cows milk past 1yr
In fact, the World Health Organization & other health experts have warned (as early as 1986!!) that these products are not necessary- and can possibly be harmful if fed to children inappropriately:…
Does all this fear over infant formula/follow up "confusion" sound hand-wringy or paternalistic to you? Well, I'd like you to tell me- by looking @ the label- which of these products will keep a baby under 1yr old fed & healthy, and which may cause dangerous nutrient deficiencies
Now imagine these labels are not written in your native language. AND you're seeing big glossy ad like this: . OH BUT OF COURSE this ad is only for STAGE 3- u are not supposed to interpret it as *promoting* all similar products which use this branding
This is not just an issue in poor or non-English speaking countries. Cattaneo & Berry's research in Italy/Australia shows that "first world" educated mothers struggle to differentiate between these…
Given all this- why do "follow-up" and "toddler" milks even exist? @menakawilhelm was right to ask: is this about a real nutritional need or just a marketing niche?…
These milks came 2 market after the passage of the #WHOCode: which restricts promo of breastmilk substitutes & cuts into companies' bottom lines. Creating new milks for older infants and arguing that they are not BMS gives them a loophole to continue to market their products
Companies constantly tweak infant formula products and invent new product categories- not bc science shows it is better for babies' nutrition, but because it's good business @ChangingMarkets describes this behavior in this excellent report:…
They do this & then lobby against the public health interests @ UN global policy forums & spend big to shape regulations & food standards which govern their actions. At the #CCNFSDU meeting in Nov, they will join countries &observer groups deciding how 2 define "follow-up formula
Back to @juliaoftoronto's @voxdotcom story to see how all of this fits with in this week's #breastfeeding headlines...and how November's Codex Alimentarius meeting will likely mirror the now infamous WHA breastfeeding resolution fight. It certainly did last year:
Some country delegations attending these Codex #CCNFSDU (terrible acronym 4 committee in charge of this) deliberations will be the ones fighting for the #WHOCode and common sense: follow up formlas are breastmilk substitutes (what else would they be??) & must be regulated as such
Here's 1 big problem: low/middle income countries- which have the most to lose if lifesaving breastfeeding protections are weakened- also have fewest resources to attend the mtg and stand up 2 companies & the countries who rep their interests
We can absolutely expect that USA and other formula-producing nations will use heavy-handed tactics to push their agenda forward, potentially changing the landscape for breastmilk substitute marketing even though they lost the World Health Assembly breastfeeding resolution fight
This is all part of a bigger pattern of corporate and political behavior which value profit over the health of the most vulnerable consumers (babies). @astuebe of @BFMedicine has some great insight into how our ag/food system makes this happen:…
Here's another big problem: this stuff is so heady & wonky, it is rare that it makes 4 big headlines or pithy jokes on the @colbertlateshow. How do we communicate the big issues & policy asks to make sure real change happens?
Groups like @savechildrenuk @1000Days @ARCH_Nutrition @HelenKellerIntl @BRACworld @babymilkaction @GlblCtzn @SUNCSN @aliveandthrive & individuals @iamKSealsAllers @MathisenRoger @lucymsullivan are doing the work 2 make sure this doesn't fall of the radar when the news cycle ends

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