Today’s statement of concern comes from a WIC dietitian who asked that their testimony be kept anonymous, as they are concerned of possible career repercussions:é
“Thank you for creating this Facebook group. I have such a problem with the corporate sponsors. I work at WIC and don’t feel comfortable having our organization’s journal on my desk due to the formula advertisements. Having pre-approved CEUs for RDs from Nestlé, one of the world’s greatest WHO code violators regarding breastfeeding is the “icing on the cake”.
We as dietitians need to be promoting breastfeeding first and foremost; having preapproved/sponsored education from Nestlé seems to be a blatant conflict of interest to me.
We should promote breastfeeding as the premier and ultimate infant nutrition or first food, and support mothers to reach their breastfeeding goals. I feel that having dietitians carry such a bag around puts the “stamp of approval” on the formula industry and could discourage women and/or their support people from starting or continuing breastfeeding. After all, the basic *free* advertisement the company is receiving through us is: “I saw a dietitian carrying a bag that said it was okay, so it must be just as good as breast milk”. I know I don’t want to be the walking billboard giving this impression.
I do realize that there is a time and a place for infant formula, but for the majority of infants it would not be needed with maternal access to appropriate education and most importantly support. The advertisements are most certainly not needed.
It is time to reevaluate AND’s corporate sponsorship. We should not allow companies such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and any company that makes (and advertises) infant formula to be our sponsors. They are all contributors to our nation’s obesity and chronic disease epidemic. As I said before, whether real or perceived, these sponsorships imply a “stamp of approval” by dietetic professionals. I’ve heard it stated before, and feel it is worth repeating, that a good analogy for this is a cigarette company providing continuing education regarding lung cancer; it just doesn’t “fit”.”