Here is a letter from Professor Mary Renfrew of Dundee University that explains what happened when an appeal got thrown open to all and sundry.


Dear colleagues

You may remember the correspondence a few weeks ago about this Open Letter on feeding for babies in neonatal units and their mothers – co-signatories included companies that profit from the sale of breastmilk substitutes.  As one of the co-authors of the Open Letter – and having been unaware that co-signatories would include these companies –  I have now followed up on the matter.  I asked Leith Greenslade either to remove the company logos from the list, or to remove my university logo. The decision she made was to remove my university logo.

I have today posted the statement below on the Linked In site where she published the original letter.   Please feel free to circulate this statement as you wish.

I am keen that we do not lose the intent of the original letter. I am therefore including here links to two of our publications that informed much of the content of the letter, hoping that this work can perhaps be used to strengthen people’s understanding of the problem and the potential solutions. – see the chapter at the end on the research agenda.

Statement published today (15/2/2017) on Leith Greenslade’s Linked In site-

As one of the co-authors of this letter, I am in full support of its content and I hope that it has an impact and promotes new research directions for babies in neonatal units and their mothers. After the letter was agreed by the co-authors, however, a wider group was asked to co-sign. I was unaware that those asked would include companies that profit from the sale of breastmilk substitutes until the final version of the letter was published and I saw the full list. Having been a researcher in the field of breastfeeding for several decades, I believe that presenting the logos together without everyone involved first being aware and in agreement is inappropriate. There are serious conflict of interest issues, and appearing as co-signatories suggests a formal collaboration that does not in fact exist. I have therefore asked to have my university affiliation removed from the list of signatories. Other co-signatories may similarly be unaware.


Click here for a You Tube interview with Leith Greenslade

Here are the logos on the appeal.  We understand that Save the Children has also asked that the Danone logo is removed, or failing that that their logo to be removed.

Open letter logos

Prof Mary Renfrew FRSE
Professor of Mother and Infant Health
School of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Dundee
+44(0)1382 388664 |
We’re Scottish University of the Year again!
The Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 and 2017Mother and Infant Research UnitFrom best evidence to policy and everyday practice @MIRU_UK 

Director, Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre

Strengthening the evidence base for health and social care

Twitter:  @EBImprovement


PA: Irene Reid: (44)-(0)-1382 385090



SISCC: Gillian Clark: (44)-(0)-1382 388537

The University of Dundee is a registered Scottish Charity, No: SC015096


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