Friday, September 26, 2008

UN says China's milk scare could boost breastfeeding

The UN children's agency has lashed out at Chinese dairies over the ongoing tainted milk scandal, saying it is unacceptable to deceive the public about health issues.

But Beijing-based spokesman for UNICEF, Dale Rutstein, says the scandal triggered when 53,000 babies fell ill after drinking contaminated milk could boost the popularity of breastfeeding.

"Based on what we've seen in the press I would say, this looks like an attempt to deceive the public by milk producers who seem to be trying to water down their milk," he said.

"Definitely we're acknowledging that this is a kind of a scandal."

UNICEF has issued a statement with the World Health Organisation, saying it had "observed with great sadness and concern the unfolding story of tainted infant formula produced by Sanlu and other companies."

"Whilst any attempt to deceive the public in the area of food production and marketing is unacceptable, deliberate contamination of foods intended for consumption by vulnerable infants and young children is particularly deplorable," the statement says.

Mr Rutstein says the increased public awareness that has resulted from the baby formula scandal could help make women in China more familiar with the benefits of breastfeeding.

"We're trying to get more and more information out. We're trying to step up efforts to remind people how good breastfeeding is," he says.

"We're working with them (the Chinese government) now to produce TV spots to take advantage of this moment. We are also trying to raise more money to do much more advertising."

source: UN says China's milk scare could boost breastfeeding Radio Australia