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Trump Slams NYT For Critical Article On US Stance on Breastfeeding

10 July 2018
Trump Slams NYT For Critical Article On US Stance on Breastfeeding

"The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out", the president tweeted.

On Twitter, Mr Trump "called out" the Times and said the "US strongly supports breastfeeding".

"Malnutrition and poverty are the precise settings where you absolutely do need to breastfeed, because that's the setting where access to safe and clean water for reconstituting powdered formula is often impossible to find", Dr. Michele Barry, director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health in the Stanford School of Medicine, told The New York Times in response to Trump's tweet.

HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement responding to the account of the resolution that the United States "has a long history of supporting mothers and breastfeeding around the world and is the largest bilateral donor of such foreign assistance programs". Another section called on countries to restrict promotion of food products that could have harmful effects on children.

The U.S. threatened to withdraw military aid and engage in punitive trade tactics with Ecuador after it introduced the breastfeeding resolution at the World Health Assembly, the Times reported.

The confrontation was the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues.

While Donald Trump is set to take to the skies over London in the form of an angry baby blimp, his administration has caused multilateral alarm by threatening to launch yet another trade war in Geneva, over breast milk.

Hundreds of government delegates had gathered at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in Geneva in May.

A 2016 Lancet study found that universal breastfeeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield US$300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk. The proposal was controversial even in the Obama administration. "We feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries", A Russian delegate told the Times of Russia's decision to introduce the resolution.

In the end, the US's effort to dash the World Health Organization resolution encouraging breastfeeding was largely unsuccessful.

Trump argues his administration supports breastfeeding but also wants women to have access to formula.

Limiting inaccurate infant formula marketing is most necessary in some of the poorest parts of the world, according to a Guardian investigation published earlier this year in partnership with the worldwide nongovernmental organization Save the Children.

The move reflected the United States government's championing of the $US70 billion ($94 billion) baby formula industry - mainly based in the USA and Europe. "Baby Milk Action", which was favorably quoted in the article, and ran much of the anti-formula marketing part of the assembly, is known for its long-running boycott of Nestlé, which makes and markets baby formula to mothers.