The New York Times is reporting that the United States tried to block a resolution which encouraged countries to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes, at a meeting of the United Nations’ World Health Assembly earlier this year.
When that failed, the US threatened to impose disciplinary trade measures and withdraw military aid on Ecuador, the nation that had introduced the resolution, and even said it would cut its WHO contribution – last year a huge $845 million – according to diplomats and government officials.
In the end, Russia stepped in to push through the measure with some changes to the wording – and without threats from the US.
President Trump has since tweeted: “The US strongly supports breastfeeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula.”
But the resolution was never about trying to deny anyone access – more about ensuring governments support women to feed their children.
With the American-dominated milk formula industry now worth $70 billion, we suspect it’s more a case of the US putting corporate America first again.