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Tin of 'Pelargon' infant milk powder, by Nestlé, Netherlands, 1980

Advertising and selling baby milk formula to developing countries has been controversial for some time. Bottle fed babies are more likely to have diarrhoea, which causes dehydration. This can be fatal if vital fluids and salts in the body are not replaced. The instructions written in English, French and Arabic on the tin tell the user to sterilise all bottles and use clean water. But if a mother cannot read she cannot follow the instructions. Even if she can overcome the literacy barrier, there is no guarantee that a clean water supply or the facilities to make up bottles of the formula will be accessible. The selling of milk formula has also led to a drop in the numbers of women who breast feed. These factors led to a consumer boycott of Nestlé’s products in the 1970s. (Shown here with other milk powder products.)

Object number:

1981-1493 Pt3

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Glossary: milk formula

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