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The main concern at the heart of the Nestle milk formula marketing plan was the deaths it caused.

Nestle marketed its powdered milk formula in developing countries. Their arguments were roughly that a) the mothers' breast milk was not good enough for their child and b) western mothers use milk formula. Many people in developing countries want a taste of the luxuries enjoyed by those more fortunate than themselves. When they are able to, they emulate western society. Parents bought and used the baby milk formula.

While research has shown that breast milk is not inferior to milk formula, mere economic exploitation - persuading people to buy a product they didn't really need then raising the price - could perhaps have been forgiven.

Think a moment. What do you need to mix with the milk powder in order to obtain a liquid? Water. People in developing countries often lack a safe water supply. Wells are polluted with arsenic, bacteria, other toxic minerals and various other pollutants. In their blind faith in the superiority of western ways, mothers mixed the milk formula with unsafe water, and often, their children died.

In addition - often the mothers had no way of sterilizing bottles or teats - so the children could contract diseases from that source as well.

To add to the problems caused by Nestle's encouragement of bottle feeding in developing countries - breast feeding is an effective contraceptive. Breast feeding stimulates production of the hormones that suppress ovulation - thus helping to prevent the woman becoming pregnant again immediately. By promoting bottlefeeding, Nestle has taken away what is often the one contraceptive method these women have left to them, and contributed to the Earth's over-population.

Figures were quoted in the 1970s to show that hundreds of thousands of babies were dying each year due to bottle feeding related diseases. Various human rights and religious groups have at times supported a boycott on Nestle products, and while some of these boycotts have been lifted, in the late 1990s there were calls to reinstate them - as it was found that Nestle continued to breach regulations concerning the marketing of baby milk formula.

So, unless you're dying for a KitKat or an Aero bar - consider boycotting Nestle.

Acknowledgements: http://perc.ca/PEN/1991-09/patterson.html