Turkish women may be feeling inadequate about their ability to breastfeed thanks to Danone, the multinational food giant that’s been promoting its powdered milk by warning women about their breast milk.
According to an investigation conducted by the Independent, “Danone has been marketing its formula milk product Aptamil in Turkey by suggesting mothers with six-month old babies might not be providing enough of their own milk to meet their children’s needs.”
But, the company says it’s taking the data directly from the World Health Organization’s recommendations and says WHO along with Unicef endorsed the campaign. The Independent says both organizations have denied any affiliation with the ad campaign.
The Independent reports that Turkey traditionally has a high rate of breastfeeding, as well as a growing middle class population with disposable income—the ideal market for Danone to boost sales of infant formula. The company distorted data about how much breast milk most women produce and turned it into an ad on television, in supermarkets and online, stating: “Your baby needs at least 500ml milk per day. If your breast milk is not enough, give Aptamil formula to support your baby’s immune system.”
“Danone’s campaign is misleading,” Dr Colin Michie, chairman of the British Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s nutrition committee told the Independent. “There is not enough evidence to support its approach.” He added: “Mothers who follow Danone’s advice could end up moving their babies on to formula milk unnecessarily.”
Danone’s rival food maker Nestlé was accused of a similar tactic in the 1970s also in Turkey. The campaign boosted infant formula sales by 15 percent.