The Case Of The Nestle Baby Formula Controversy

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Anthropologist can use many different approaches and specialized roles when conducting and using their research. In the case of the Nestle Baby Formula Controversy it was a case of medical anthropology and business anthropology. It is a case of problem oriented research. The researchers took on the roles of advocate, impact assessor, evaluator, and expert witness to try to combat and understand the induction of formula in third world countries. Before formula a baby had to be breast feed by the mother or another woman. In the 1920’s 90% of woman breastfed. As formula was promoted that fell to 38% in 1946 (Guasti). Formula sales were going great fueled by the post war baby Boom caused by World War II. As the baby boom came to an end sales started dropping. In the late 1970’s to the 1980’s with the reduction of formula feeding mothers in the United States and Europe Nestle turned it’s marking towards third world countries mainly Africa, Asia, and South America. This had devastating results to young infants in the area. The lack of clean available water and the resources to prepare the water prevented the formula from being used in a manner it was designed for. Often the formula would be watered down with dirty water. This caused many ill effects for infants and could led to death. Common ailments were diarrhea, dehydration, and intestinal infections. Science supported that in the environments of third world countries breastfeeding was the safe, renewable and free choice
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