Nasty Nestle

I love Nestle chocolate.  And until recently, I did not realize that Nestle owned many other companies outside of the food industry, such as Garnier and the Body Shop.  However, what I found most shocking is that the Nestle is one of the biggest baby food producers in the world.  And even more surprising: for the past forty years, they have been considered one of the most aggressive and unethical baby food companies in the industry.

Nestle is guilty of dishonest advertising and misleading customers.  They are responsible for risking the lives of many children by falsely promoting their own infant formula over breastfeeding.  By doing so, nestle is responsible for many babies illnesses and deaths in developing countries.  Their marketing campaign hooked many mothers in third world countries on their formula, which was less healthy for children and more expensive.  Furthermore, the formula is required to be mixed with water, but many women in developing countries do not have access to clean water, and by mixing the contaminated water with the formula the child was not receiving the nutrients he or she required.  The company is also accused of neglecting to include instructions and health warnings on their formula, or not including them in the appropriate languages.

This news has completely altered my opinion about the company.  Many companies stretch the truth or falsely advertise to sell their products, but when a company is killing millions of children from their formula a line has been crossed.  Many people have been boycotting the company for years, but very little has been done to eradicate this problem.

9 thoughts on “Nasty Nestle

  1. I’m as amazed as you that Nestle, a company that in America is well known as a respected brand, has done such things in other developing countries. However, while I do believe that Nestle has neglected to provide adequate instruction as to the health risks of their product and how they can be avoided, I don’t think they are intentionally going out and aiming to harm these young infants. Perhaps their capitalistic greed can be mitigated with some proper instruction for the mothers.

    • No. They actually went and told these mothers that breast milk was poison, and stop breastfeeding and use their product because it was safer and better for their baby.

  2. I would agree that it is not Nestle’s intention to harm babies however this is clearly a terrible problem that the company must address. It should not be advertising that formula is better then breastfeeding. Also, it is an absolute must that the company should explicitly write the negative effects that could occur from mixing the formula with contaminated water. Also, if the company is going to sell to foreign countries it is ethical to spend the time and money to write the instructions and warnings in the proper language. People have a right to know if they are willing engaging in an activity that could be harmful to themselves or others. This is unacceptable and should be addressed by this company!

  3. Wow, this news is disturbing to me. Nestle has gone way too far to make money. The company’s expansion into those developing countries may have looked good from a strategic standpoint, however, Nestle went about the move in a highly irresponsible way. Further research should have been done before the formula was ever introduced into those areas. I wish that Nestle got more negative media attention here in the United States so the company would be more pressured to change its unethical ways!

  4. It seems to me that all companies that produce baby formula promote it over breastfeeding. They want to make a profit. I do not think that Nestle is the only company guilty of that, but that does not make it right. Especially in developing countries, the importance of breastfeeding should not be undermined by formula. Hopefully Nestle and other companies that market formula to developing countries will get negative media attention in the near future.

  5. Nestle marketing a product to people that is expensive and has adverse effects reminds me of marketing for cigarette companies. Watching Mad Men really opened my eyes to the powers of the advertising world, and you could make the argument that marketers are responsible for a lot of the chaos in the business world.

  6. The the thing surprises me the most is that this is relatively unknown news. I have yet to see news reports or articles on this important issue. However, everyone knows when McDonalds is getting sued for too hot of coffee. But when it comes to a international company creating false advertising that results in deaths, rarely anything is covered.

  7. Nestle…take my advice and stick to chocolate. It’s what you’re known for and hasn’t caused you any trouble.

    This post was astonishing; I had no idea that Nestle was misleading consumers to such an extent. I think Nestle’s marketing team has some major work to do. First PR—find the best writer…or the best “BS-er” who can spin this situation to not lose too much of its customer base. Second, and most importantly, Nestle needs to make a change. A good start might be simply putting instructions and warnings on the formula. (Yes, long term, I would like to see them alter the product ingredients to make it safer, but I recognize that would take a while.)

  8. I think a full accounting of the baby formula, in addition to the valid concerns you raise, has to address the legitimate need for formula in some cases (no woman available to breast feed, for example). One of my sons needed formula at times as his mother was visiting his twin sister in the NICU (baby intensive care).

    I wonder how Nestle has responded to these criticisms over the years? They are long standing enough that they must have. What do public health authorities say?

    Also, I know I have a published case about this in a book in my office. Stop by to borrow it.


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