Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Milk Code

Breast has always been best. We even have a law for this, the Milk Code that was established to encourage mothers to nurse their infants for as long as they could. Now that the election is over, let’s see how many will raise cries of protest over the threatening letter sent directly to GMA by the head of the US Chamber of Commerce that pointedly reminded her of the employment, investment and trade implications that would result with the enforcement of new rules and regulations that will make it a little more difficult for giant multinationals to mislead the poorly informed.

Infant formula is big business worldwide. The Philippines is a tiny market for these big players (Nestle, Wyeth, Abbott-Ross, Mead Johnson) but money is money. In the US, infant formula is very expensive but 2 factors make them “sure buys”. The convenience it provides especially to working mothers and the direct support of the Federal Government in the form of food stamps (WIC program-Women with Infants and Children). Formula milk is not superior to breast milk. It will not make our kids more competitive in the future (education and healthcare will). As a matter of fact, formula milk kills children in our country because clean water fit for human consumption is a rarity in impoverished areas resulting in untold numbers of enteric infections. Likewise, in a desperate attempt to skimp and save, ignorant mothers purposely dilute the formula they feed their babies and unwittingly raise malnourished kids who possess among other complications under-developed brains and immune systems. Now you know why tuberculosis and pulmonary infections are so common around here.

Nursing babies is nature’s way of family planning. It is also the most effective manner to regain pre-puerperal measurements.

Powdered whole milk is a totally different issue. There is such an abundance of this product in other countries. There is no shame in asking for the enormous surpluses that the US, Australia and New Zealand have. Or in negotiating with these countries to let us purchase milk at a markedly reduced price. Instead of raising herds of cattle that will contribute to elevated levels of methane and require large amounts of feed, we should convince the people in these nations to share their largesse. Powdered whole milk is superior to instant noodles which is the dietary staple of the majority of our youth today. The protein from milk will spur the intellectual and physical growth of succeeding generations. This is one product I have no problem importing.


Gregory said...

Martin, if you haven't yet, you might want to check Solita Monsod's article on the matter:

Gregory said...

Here's a post entitled "The Breast of Intentions"

Ava said...

You write very well.