The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) at the House of Commons on 5th July, chaired by Alison Thewliss MP, featured Sally Etheridge’s moving and informative presentation about inequalities, food banks and breastfeeding. With corporations keen present themselves as agents for good, there is an urgent need to ensure that food bank donations, and information given to mothers and families, are appropriate and do not inadvertently undermine breastfeeding and harm infant and young child health.
Sally and Helen Crawley (First Steps Nutrition Trust) and other members of the Baby Feeding Law Group, have produced the Information on Food Banks supporting pregnant women and families with infants (2015), aware that despite the UK’s well-established welfare system, increasing numbers of UK families are resorting to using food banks. The paper aims to help organisers and volunteers be aware of the statutory benefits available and protect against inappropriate donations.
Watch out: European food bank & business organisations join forces to promote food donations
Meanwhile new Guidelines have been produced by – EVERY MEAL MATTERS – FOOD DONATION GUIDELINES How to improve the distribution of surplus food to food banks? that are sure to be exploited by the food industry (see page 6 already for Nestlé’s pitch).
I have represented IBFAN on the EU Commission’s Platform for Action on Diet Physical Activity and Health for many years and at these meetings constant reference is made to ‘inequalities – with the corporate members keen to push food through food banks, breakfast clubs etc and call it philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
IBFAN”s position is that inequalities are political decisions that can’t be fixed by CSR – indeed CSR can make things much much worse if it promotes high processed packaged foods and formulas are the best way forward. Its inappropriate for the Platform to suggest that food industry ‘voluntary commitments’ are a way to address inequalities.
Find the press release here.