PR Companies and the Milk Formula Manufacturers (Part 2)

This entry is a continuation of PR and New Media Publishing.

A few months ago, I got invited to watch the presentation of a scientific study that correlated DHA and ARA (components found in Breast Milk which Milk companies now add to their formula) to the increase of the IQ of a child to 7 points. I was quite puzzled by the presentation of Dennis Hoffman’s Recent Evidence that Dietary Supply of DHA and ARA in Early Infancy Leads to Possible Trends in IQ of 4-Year Olds. Though no milk company was mentioned or direct promotion of the infant formula, I noticed that a popular celebrity was around to host the event. An idiot can easily put two and two together and correlate it to that milk company. I felt sick to the stomach because I thought I was attending a parenting seminar.

No problem there because like I told you, if I don’t believe in the product or event, I am not compelled to blog about it. So I left it at that.

Three months later, I got a call from the PR company. I could have said NO from the start of the conversation. But I listened out of sheer curiosity. She admitted that she was being candid and was exploring the possibility for mom-bloggers to be an advocate.

Hm, an advocate? How?

Intelligence, she said.

Remember the presentation of the DHA and ARA that it can increase IQ to 7 plus points?

Yes, I remember.

She continued, All you have to do is write this: ask their doctor about the Hoffman study and how you can give your child +7IQ points.

My eyebrows shot up, So doctors are part of this campaign? I was mortified.

She avoided my question. Still, I wanted to study the materials of the Hoffman study that the Milk Company wanted me to read. Armed with a BS Food Technology degree, I am armed with the skills to interpret statistics and other pertinent data. The Eileen E. Birch, Dennis Hoffman et. al. study on Visual acuity and cognitive outcomes at 4 years of age in a double-blind, randomized trial of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented infant formula is very misleading. I will write more about the Hoffman study which is based on 79 infants who were fed DHA and ARA supplementation of infant formula within the first 5 days of life. The number of respondents fail in comparison to Michael S. Kramer et. al. research (Breastfeeding and child cognitive development: new evidence from a large randomized trial) which enrolled 17,046 healthy breastfeeding infants.

Now i have a problem with this. Obviously.

I know that we should always consult the doctor for any questions regarding our health. But what if these milk companies are inadvertently promoting the infant formula through the health professionals? I believe they are promoting the Hoffman study through these doctors. Blogging about intelligence with the possibility of the doctor prescribing milk formula maybe indirectly violating the law.

There is a law, the Philippine Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (E.O. 51) that was signed in 1986.

In May 2006, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque passed the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) for EO 51 (Download here.) , which includes a ban on the advertising and promotion of milk substitutes for children up to two, with an absolute ban on false health and nutritional claims. ““The new rules would restrict entry of infant formula and sample products into hospitals,” DOH Undersecretary Alex Padilla says in an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on February 3, 2007. ““It will not prohibit all ads, only ads that make false claims, like ‘drinking this formula will produce geniuses who are loveable and affectionate.'”

The benefits of DHA and ARA supplementation is not yet approved by our Food and Drugs Administration.

I suspect that milk companies are going to claim that they are merely marketing milk for young children, not infants, therefore its milk product is not covered by the Milk code. Unfortunately, the Hoffman study that they are citing studied infants therefore the milk company is actually breaking the law with their claim of ‘increased IQ’ when the child drinks their supplemented milk.

Such a campaign is a violation of the Philippine Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (E.O. 51). Look at how aggressive these milk companies are. Watch this eye-opening documentary that reveals how the marketing of powdered milk has caused fewer mothers to breastfeed in the Philippines. The milk companies’ formula for profits is a formula for disaster.


Continue Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Ever since the Milk Code was made into a law by virtue of President Cory’s Executive Order 51, milk companies have become creative by marketing cow’s milk as follow-on milk food, prenatal milk, milk for the elderly, etc. Still the same banana–all these undermine breastfeeding directly or indirectly by claiming these make our children and adults smarter and healthier.

I also have a problem with the whole intelligence concept.

You mean formula milk can produce intelligent children? Researchers have been studying the components of breast milk, and milk companies are attempting to copy this,” Nona Andaya-Castillo , a breastfeeding advocate explains. ““But the taurine in a mother’s breast milk is intended for human babies. Where exactly does formula milk get its taurine?” Contrary to what the ads say, milk formula, which is derived from cow’s milk, just can’t cut it. ““You don’t see any gifted cows. You don’t see any cows playing chess or the piano.”

Just watching the milk ads on TV, I can see that milk companies are more into misinformation than the truth. You think the prime concern of milk formula companies is our childs’ health? It may be one of their concerns, but I bet the bottom line is profitability. It is a multi-billion peso industry where there is a huge budget for marketing.

Look at who they are targeting now.

These milk companies are now contacting mom bloggers (and maybe even dad bloggers) to join this advocacy. It’s the choice of these parent bloggers to join or not. But my stand is that I refuse to promote any advocacy from a milk manufacturer. I will not write about factors affecting a child’s intelligence whose outcome may lead to the use of milk formula. NO to ads or blog entries that may be peppered with subliminal messages, half-lies and half-truths.

I will blog another entry on studies such as Michael S. Kramer et. al. research (Breastfeeding and child cognitive development: new evidence from a large randomized trial) that support breastfeeding rather than infant formula feeding as contributing to intelligence later in life versus the Dr. Hoffman clinical trial.

If you were approached by a similar request, would you agree to write?

Continue reading on Breastfeeding Advocacy: Dennis Hoffman Study Promoted by Philippine Doctors on +7IQ points is Misleading & Inaccurate

For questions on Breastfeeding, contact
The Breastfeeding Clinic:
Your Partner from Pregnancy to Parenting
(Managed by two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants)
Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC

Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, MD, FPDS, RPh, IBCLC
Telefax: 632-889-1105
Mobile: 63-919-839-5555

Breastfeeding Websites in the Philippines

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1389 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.