Coca-Cola: Saving the World From its Own Practices


Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

Related Post Roulette

54 Responses

  1. Avatar Kim says:

    Seems prone to failure, and expensive.
    Probably useful in places with heavy metal contamination.
    There are better ideas for biological contamination.Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

      It’s taken me several hours only to still not come across anything that conclusively tells me who is ultimately footing the bill for these.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      $1K-$2K for something that can reliable produce 1000 liters a day is not a bad price, and the design has a minimum of moving parts, which greatly increases it’s reliability.Report

  2. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    and go with a bottle of water, which, although environmentally unsustainable and more costly, is probably a preferable alternative to the contaminated tap water that’s more readily available

    Yes, it probably is. Which makes me wonder why your wrath is directed at Coke rather than the entity supplying contaminated water.

    Let’s go with the assumption that the Coca Cola company is every bit as despicable as you indicate. Are they more or less despicable than an entity that provides only contaminated water?

    If so, how so? If not, why focus on them?Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

      In many instances I assume the water is of poor quality because the locales which have any kind of infrastructure to provide it lack the resources to adequately do so, perhaps due to some confluence of corruption on the part of administrators and low wages on the part of workers, so that the only alternative is to spend a days wages working at the Cola plant on a weeks worth of bottled water that was packaged there.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I don’t think that actually addresses my question.Report

      • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

        Which is that I’m focusing on Coca-Cola because they are a business that’s larger than the GDP of many of the countries where they sell their product, and thus have a lot of latitude to make practical changes to their methods of doing business without necessarily going belly up?

        Or that a multi-billion dollar industry that sells massive quantities of purified water repackaged to sell at a premium, some of it containing fizzy corn syrup and patented caramel coloring, is rife with waste, fraud and abuse and thus worthy of singling out?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        More worth singling out than a government that can’t or won’t provide it’s people with clean drinking water?

        How does the value of Coke v. GDP matter? If a small company is unethical, it doesn’t matter? If a country with a larger GDP than Coke’s valueis unethical, you’ll criticize them more than you do Coke? I just don’t see how that standard can play out meaningfully.

        What I see here is a company that’s doing something the public agency isn’t–providing people with safe water. I’ll stick with all your criticism of Coke, and I’ll stipulate that it would be better if they had safe tap water as opposed to needing to buy bottled water. I still don’t see how Coke is the villian in this story, rather than the public agency. If Coke was providing people with contaminated water, how would you respond? Do you respond the same way to the public agency providing contaminated water? If not, why not?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        If Coke was providing people with contaminated water,

        I thought that was the company’s main product.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I can see James point. Why is Coke beholden to do the job of the local government?

        It might be nice of coke to produce bottled water & sell it to the locals at cost or at a minimum mark-up, but they have no ethical or even moral obligation to do so unless they are contributing to the contamination of the local water supply.

        If a local utility is unable to produce enough electricity for the communities it serves, should we get upset when the makers of home wind turbines & solar panels move in & sell their devices to the populace?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Heh. If not Coca-Cola (KO), who? Gujarat is one of the least-corrupt states in the nation of India. It’s also one of its least-developed states. It’s had a recent run of decent leadership. KO sees a problem, needs to engender some good will, here’s a fundamental problem it understands.

        And Gujarat is making real progress in water management. It’s adopted some ancient water conservation techniques.

        If I was a KO exec, talking to the local governments — here they are, doing their best with one of India’s most poverty-stricken states, which managed to bring in a big fish like KO, what might they want by way of a KO contribution? Water purification. Damn KO all you like for their selling of fizzy drinks full of unhealthy sugar, that’s fine. But here’s a case where a worldwide corporation chose Gujarat because it was reasonably well-managed — and now wants to help with one of Gujarat’s most pressing problems.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        Well, going by general procedures of mega-corporation in the Third World:

        The company pays people low wages. People have barely enough – and in some cases, not enough – money to survive, so the municipal government can’t get anything from taxing them. The company pays extremely low taxes, and threatens to move somewhere else if taxes are increased (this threat may not be carried out often, but it’s convincing to governments, and they’ve got every international bank and financial institution telling them that regulations and taxes are going to drive away businesses). So the municipality has no income, so it can’t develop a water system. Add to that the fact that, in Coke’s case, its large-scale use of water in its products contributes to water scarcity.

        Then it bottles water and sells it to the people at a profit, pretending that this is social responsibility.

        To decry taxation, praise corporations, and then turn around and denounce a government for failing to provide a service that they lack the fiscal capacity to provide is inconsistent, nonsensical, and blatant corporate shilling.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I agree with James’ point in general. The most pertinent criticisms of Coke is their essentially disingenuous suggestion they are doing this out of the good of their hearts to make the community better. If their biggest concern was safe drinking water then shouldn’t they first look at stopping any harmful things they are doing. Coke is trying to be all things: a seller and a good Samaritan. Those roles are inherently incompatible, but often lead to bad marketing or throughly confused motives.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        KO’s presence in Gujarat has been followed by a meter more groundwater. Maybe they’re pumping water into the ground over there at the Coke plant. Or some other hellish scheme to further impoverish those Pore Brown People. I don’t buy into any such scheme.

        Andrew Carnegie once said nobody gets rich without enriching others. KO is neither a devil or an angel: both are the province of myths and doctrines beyond our ken. I, at least, have never seen an instance of either. But I have seen many firms do community outreach, mostly because it’s wise corporate policy. Builds the brand. Puts a human face on a soulless entity.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        People have barely enough – and in some cases, not enough – money to survive, so the municipal government can’t get anything from taxing them.

        Does the municipal government bear no responsibility in the level of development? Whether liberal, conservative, libertarian or Marxist, I think everyone agrees that governments influence economic development (even if they all disagree with how). I’m not accustomed to people treating government as mere passive recipient of development.

        To decry taxation, praise corporations, and then turn around and denounce a government for failing to provide a service that they lack the fiscal capacity to provide is inconsistent, nonsensical, and blatant corporate shilling.

        Could be. Who did that here?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Ethan, there’s something curious about the groundwater grapg in the article you linked. It says Coke began bottling in ’99. In that year the groundwater appears to have been about 4 1/2 meters below the surface. And in 2011 it fell to about 13 meters below the surface. Pretty severe decline. But look at the years prior to Coke setting up shop. Between ’86 and ’93 the level fluctuated between about 10 1/2 and 13 meters below ground level, just where it is today, before climbing to the heights it reached just before Coke arrived.

        This clearly indicates that something other than Coke has affected ground water levels. My first guess would be variation on the monsoons. Has Coke had an independent effect? Has it made it harder to have sufficient groundwater following years of insufficient rain? These are reasonable possibilities, but there’s not enough informstion given to tell.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        India’s been suffering from drought for several years now. It’s led to a complete rethinking of how agriculture is conducted in India. Gujarat was among the first states to take the classic Aldo Leopold approach — look at the watershed as a complete entity.

        In ancient times, India practiced ingenious methods of water management. Anciently, in Gujarat, they dug kundi or vaav, some of prodigious size. The step well had served India for centuries but the British thought they knew better. These old techniques were lost. They’ve had to be revived, going back to the archaeology to determine where the old revetments and catchments were located.

        Things are changing for the better.Report

      • Avatar Notme says:


        “Which is that I’m focusing on Coca-Cola because they are a business that’s larger than the GDP of many of the countries where they sell their product, and thus have a lot of latitude to make practical changes to their methods of doing business without necessarily going belly up?

        Or that a multi-billion dollar industry that sells massive quantities of purified water repackaged to sell at a premium, some of it containing fizzy corn syrup and patented caramel coloring, is rife with waste, fraud and abuse and thus worthy of singling out?

        So the bottom line is that you really have an axe to grind b/c you are another big business hating liberal?Report

  3. Avatar Sherock says:

    Don’t know who this Gach fellow is but his mouthing off about Coca-Cola in India is typical BS from Westerners who feel entitled to their opinion and “facts” without knowing the details. Cannot wait for your types to die away, it is happening and shouldn’t be much longer. Anyways, one of Coca-Cola’s factories in India has been shut down because of pollution – including pollution of water resources. There has also been government documentation of Coca-Cola polluting around its factories in India. Not one or two, but at least ten factories. So while providing clean drinking water may be the responsibility of the government, it is not necessarily the case if a company has polluted the water source in the area. There is also a court order instructing Coca-Cola to provide drinking water to people who are unable to get clean water due to the company’s pollution. And finally, there is a legislative bill passed in one of the states in India seeking $48 million from Coca-Cola for pollution – why these things are not mentioned here are beyond me. New York Times, Washington Post, PBS, and quite a few other mainstream sources have carried this. Any ideas Sherlock?Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

      Huh? What exactly did I write that you disagree with?Report

      • Avatar Sherock says:

        Your response at September 27, 2013 at 11:58 amReport

      • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

        At the risk of being obtuse, which part?Report

      • Avatar Sherock says:

        The whole part – “In many instances I assume the water is of poor quality because the locales which have any kind of infrastructure to provide it lack the resources to adequately do so, perhaps due to some confluence of corruption on the part of administrators and low wages on the part of workers, so that the only alternative is to spend a days wages working at the Cola plant on a weeks worth of bottled water that was packaged there.”

        I really am not sure what the issue of corruption among (local) administrators and low wage workers have anything to do with this. I mean you assume this, as you state, on what grounds? Because its a 3rd world country? So corruption exists? And what about the contamination of the water source by heavy metals because of Coca-Cola? Why do you not talk about that?Report

      • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

        Because that was a very specific argument w/ James, and I was trying to frame it in a way that might invite a different response from him.

        I assume corruption based on the fact that there is often corruption at the local level, not in third world countries but every where, because businesses collude with politicians to obtain favorable rulings/statutes, or at the very least for them to look the other way.

        I live in Pennsylvania where pollution from fracking up north has contaminated many water supplies, but everyone up there faces depressed wages or unemployment, so local government are also cash strapped and unwilling to tax the businesses doing the polluting in order to 1.) discourage them fro doing it or 2.) pay to have it cleaned up.

        While I understand unique circumstances pertain ever where else, Katherine’s explanation above is one that, while not always completely accurate, seems to do an okay job of describing a lot of relationships between local, indigenous populations and the globalized corporations who come in to profit from them.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Yes, Sherock, if you have a target, it’s orobably me, not Ethan.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        And besides corruption is really really bad in india. At least half of India’s problems arise from endemic and really excessive corruption. The other half arise from rather heavy handed interference in the economy.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      I don’t like that @sherock felt it okay to be so rude.

      But she does have some insightful information on the topic, so I’ll provide a source:

      Coca Cola is, it seems, doing this to satisfy a court order for ground-water contamination. They’re just trying to take credit for being good samaritans when, in fact, they’re making reparations. Perhaps Ethan’s critique is justified.

      There are several other variations of the same information available on Google.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The heavy metals charges, cadmium and lead, are specious. Cadmium and other heavy metals chelate and appear in all sewage discharges. It’s the same mechanism we see in mercury buildup in higher predators such as tuna.Report

      • Avatar Sherock says:

        They are not specious, they have been traced directly to the Coca-Cola factory by the pollution regulatory body in India. It has been confirmed that the lead, cadmium and chromium is coming from the bottling process of Coca-Cola (actually the cleaning process), and that it is being found in their sludge across India across their plants. It is, in fact, this reason why Coca-Cola is hell bent upon manufacturing a positively “green” image for itself.

        Why @BlaiseP feels entitled to make such a statement, I do not know.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:

        I don’t like it either. I will attempt to remedy the situation. 😉Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Yes, the bottling process is using water — from where, exactly? The water table of Gujarat, which has fertilised its fields for five millenia with human and animal excrement. And as the paper shows, cadmium does chelate and accumulate as it’s passed through the food chain.

        Coca-Cola doesn’t use cadmium in its processes. It’s getting rid of it. I feel entitled to make such a statement by citing a paper titled Sewage Sludge as a Source of Cadmium in Soil-Plant-Animal Systems. That, and a practical working knowledge of installing water purification systems in Kabul, Afghanistan, Raxaul in Bihar State in India, Maine-Soroa in Niger Republic and four such plants in Guatemala. So excuse me for a bit of entitlement, here. I’ve done a lot of this and it’s been my money putting in these plants. The filters capture some nasty stuff, including heavy metals, not merely cadmium. Mercury, arsenic, lead, uranium — Niger has lots of uranium, highly toxic and the distillation process catches all of it.Report

      • Avatar Sherock says:

        @BlaiseP It is exactly your kind of “entitled” thinking and opining that I am challenging in this blog.

        Am I to believe you or to believe the findings of the 2009 Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) study that concluded that the heavy metals were coming directly from inside the Coca-Cola bottling plants and that it was the result of the cleaning systems that the company used? The study monitored the ETP sludge at 8 different plants across India, and has made recommendations to the company to change its practices. The study was commissioned as a result of the alarming findings of heavy metals in the sludge being generated by Coca-Cola at different locations across India as early as 2003, and subsequently almost every time the company’s sludge was tested by the government agencies and NGOs across India at different locations.

        Coca-Cola even had the audacity to distribute its toxic sludge as “fertilizer” to farmers around its bottling plants, stopping only when ordered to do so by the government of India, and that too after the BBC broke the story after taking samples of the toxic sludge back to the UK and getting it tested and finding it containing excessive levels of heavy metals.

        If you still feel entitled to make your opinion on this matter, and talk about specious findings, go ahead. You know not what you speak of, and you rely on some strange entitlement that you think gives you some special status to be correct, its weird. Its probably Western, White and Male, innit? @Dave, do remedy this situation by changing the name of this blog to Entitled Western Gentlemen. I am cranky already and I hope you don’t like it.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I do believe it, every word. The difference is, between you and me, I know where the cadmium’s coming from. Yes, it’s coming from the cleaning process. They’re filtering the water with a semipermeable membrane. They have to clean the sludge off.

        Here’s the stupid part of all this: if KO was simply boiling the water and making Coca-Cola with the effluent still aboard, you’d now be jumping around and hollering about how KO was poisoning these poor Indians with cadmium and lead and all these other heavy metals. Are you so blissfully ignorant of water filtration that you’ve never seen adverts about how you can remove the contaminants yourself, by screwing on some device obtainable at any hardware store? You have to wash out or replace those filters. You have to clean your coffee pot for the same reasons.

        Every source of fertiliser contains more cadmium than the background. From bird shit cometh guano and from guano cometh cadmium and many another heavy metal. You’re binding it into your hair at this exact moment, if you’re drinking anything but distilled water. If it came from a living thing, darling, it contains more organometallics than background. Milk doth contain just such elevated organometallics, all living things bind heavy metals for they contain chelatins and thiolates.

        I will not bandy words with an abusive, unscientific troll. The trolls around here, the ones who last, are considerably more clever and amenable to persuasion from peer-reviewed papers. You, seemingly, are not. You are on thin ice with me and likely to encounter the Stark Fist of Removal rather sooner than you expect, honey.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The stupidest part of this resolves to this: if that water was used to irrigate the fields instead of being turned into some beverage, the cadmium would all end up in the people and animals and crops anyway. Life has learned to cope with organometallics.

        Want less heavy metals in your body? Quit eating top predators like tuna. That’s where it stacks up, especially mercury, which has the unfortunate tendency to bind to neurons. Don’t eat people, either. They eat top predators.

        But if you’re really worried about those poor Gujaratis and Biharis, do try to get the government of India to quit burning all that coal. See, it’s releasing millions of years worth of ghastly shit. Do you know a coal fired plant emits tons of radioactive compounds? Tons of mercury, too.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I don’t know the details of the situation to know if Blaise is right, but there’s no denying the plausibility of his logic. We know fertilizers pollute water–just look at the horror that is the lower Colorado River. And if Coke is drawing polluted groundwater and filtering the pollutants out, it’s going to have waste that is polluted, but Coke won’t be the actual source of the pollutants.

        Now, what they do with that waste, well, we know what profit- seeking firms are wont to do, so there’s an argument for government to pass and enforce some laws. Apparently, though, the failure of gov’t to do so- the failure of a gov’t to protect it’s own citizens–is not a proper target of our anger.Report

      • Avatar Sherock says:

        @BlaiseP As usual, you are completely off the mark, again. You do not know where the cadmium (and lead and chromium) is coming from.

        It is absolutely ridiculous how your western, white, male entitlement allows you to remain blissfully ignorant yet spout off as if you were God’s gift to the scientific world. Have you even bothered to read the 2009 report by the government body that I mentioned? I doubt it because if you had, you would know exactly where the heavy metals are coming from and they have nothing to do with whatever the hell you are trolling. The CPCB is the equivalent of the EPA in the US, and they have identified the source of the heavy metals after testing the sludge from the ETP in 8 factories and examining the process inside the factory.

        Yes, I can understand that your western, white, male entitlement allows you to rubbish the findings of a report from a developing country, and that we ought to believe you and your guano bat shit theory alone. Well Mista Guano, those times are over, ain’t happening with me or the government either no more, better get used to it.

        The issue of peer reviewed studies does not even arise in this case – the company was accused of heavy metal pollution, the government accepted the accusation and commissioned a report, and the report concluded that the heavy metals were coming from inside the plant, told them from exactly where and recommended that the company make certain changes.

        They even identified the exact product used in bottling and cleaning process that was responsible for the heavy metals – all you gotta do, Mista guano, is take a look at the report and you will have it. This report, because it is a government study, is in the public domain. So yes, Coca-Cola does use cadmium in its process, contrary to what your western, white, male entitlement allows you to claim, OK mista?

        This is exactly what I meant when I said that I cannot wait for the entitled Western types to die away, that it is happening and shouldn’t be much longer. In retrospect, I would not have used the term die but fade instead.

        Mista guano here is a perfect example of why this Western, white, male entitlement BS needs to be ground into guano bat shit once and for all. Mista won’t like it, but do you think I care for a guano shit moment? Good riddance.

        J@m3z Aitch According to the government of India, the source of the heavy metals is not from the groundwater or surface water that the company is using. This was also confirmed by a Coke commissioned report that was released in 2008. This report is in the public domain. There was an issue in 2003 and again in 2006 where tests by a NGO in India found high levels of pesticides (DDT, lindane, malathion, etc) in most of the soft drinks they tested, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and some Indian companies as well (Coke and Pepsi control about 80% of the soft drink marketshare in India).

        The 2003 results were confirmed by further government studies, particularly one done by the Joint Parliamentary Committee, the highest authoritative committee possible to be set up in India, in 2003. This report is also in the public domain.

        The reason for the pesticides was that it was coming from the groundwater that was used by the company…….But the issue then is this – is it not the responsibility of any company to ensure that the products that it places in the marketplace is safe for the consumer to consume? Now, in the case of India, the pesticides, in some cases, were found to be in concentrations more than 30 times those allowed by EU standards. Why should Coke, Pepsi and others sell to Indians soft drinks with 30 times more pesticides than those allowed by the EU for its residents? Are Indian people composed differently so that they are able to safely consume more poisons that the average European?Report

    • Avatar Dave says:

      Cannot wait for your types to die away, it is happening and shouldn’t be much longer

      I don’t care who the intended target is. This kind of garbage violates our commenting policy. Please treat Ethan and others with more respect as you continue your dialogue. Otherwise, I am going to get cranky. You won’t like me when I’m cranky.

      • Avatar Sherock says:

        In retrospect, I would not have used the term die, but fade instead. My apologies to the author.

        And yes, please do remedy this situation by changing the name of this blog to Entitled Western Gentlemen.Report

  4. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


    If safe drinking water was available before Coke arrived, and it’s Coke that has made safe drinking water unavailable, then criticize that, by all means. Of course, assuming that’s the case, there’s still the problem of whether the government could have prevented it and whether their response has been appropriate.

    Contra what Katherine seems to suggest above, the issue from my perspective isn’t corporate shilling. Libertarians shill for competitive markets, not for corporations. And we’re very focused on the oroblems that result from corruption, cronyism, and rent-seeking. But the key is that those things require two players–both someone in the private sector and someone in the public sector. And I’ll not pretend that libertarians may focus too heavily on the sins of the public party, but by the same token I think liberals focus too heavily on the sins of the private party. As liberals believe government is necessary to preserve competitive markets, protect the consumer, protect the environment, etc., shouldn’t liberals focus on failure to do so?

    You can blame a dog for shitting on your lawn, but he’s just doing what dog’s naturally do. It’s really the owner’s fault, right?Report

  5. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    I have to go beyond my first comment. Hundreds of millions of people in the world lack access to safe potable water, we have a new device that could make safe water a reality for nearly all of them, and the story is “Coca Cola is a monster,” not, “Coca Cola may be a loathesome corporation in some ways, but, look, they’re helping to make and distribute (not just in India) an inexpensive water purifier available that could save millions of people from death and illness caused by waterborne diseases”?

    Is there really such callousness about these people’s lives that we’re going to focus not on the phenomenal benefits to people in poverty but on Coca Cola’s corporate imperfections? Honestly, I find that chilling.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      I might agree with this, but if I do or not depends upon Coca Cola.

      If they go beyond what the legal process in India requires of them, if this kind of technology and way of doing business becomes a business standard in developing nations, they get bonus points for doing that. If they help test out and develop water purification technology that’s cheap to use, and help make it available in places of need, they’ve shown themselves to be good guys on that score.

      If they’re only meeting the letter of a court order? Meh. Not sure they should get any easier time than, say, a felon in this country; paid your dues, but now, you get extra scrutiny and it’s easy for people to say, “No,” to you when you try to do basic legal stuff like get a loan, apply for housing, or apply for environmental permits.

      But I gotta say: Coca Cola may be valuable brand, but it’s one now tarnished with the shame of obesity. The piece I linked to claims it’s a diverse company; focusing on that diversity — and the healthy end of it, not other sugar drinks such as Odwalla, would be a mighty fine thing.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


        My point is that the story isn’t really about Coke, whether they’re good or bad. The story is that a technology is being developed that can save millions of lives, something you’d hardly guess from Ethan’s post–those lives don’t really figure into his story. And as a subsidiary point, Coke is helping with the distribution, not just in this one state in India, but more globally.

        Can we set aside our focus on whether they’re doing it for the reasons that please us first-worlders and focus on the outcome? This is a good thing, regardless of why it’s being done.

        But we care less about the outcome than the motivation? Please let there be no God or we will have a lot to answer for.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “But we care less about the outcome than the motivation? ”

        Congratulations, you understand progressive thought. Doing something bad on purpose for the right reasons is preferable to doing something good by accident for the wrong reasons.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Tarnished with the shame of obesity? For centuries, obesity was a sign of wealth. Neolithic man used to make little pornographic statues, the Venus of Willendorf, stout as a barrel. That’s what those men thought was sexy.

        You might think it’s shameful. That’s your normative framework talking. People like Coke. If they drink so much of it that it damages their health, they think we’re crazy for working so hard that we die of stress-related disorders.Report

  6. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    See also: Nestle and infant formula. “Here’s this wonderful product. We’ll give you samples for free. Oh hey, it’s nice and you want more of it? Now you pay.”

    Not to mention the way these people will grow up thinking that the Holy Trinity is God, Jesus, and Coca-Cola Inc.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Ah croist, not that old canard. Here is the reality. My mother used to go out and teach women not to let their children drink ruan tabke, standing water. Boil the water used in infant formula, she taught them. Use a proper ratio of solids to water. Some of it stuck, some women followed the instructions. Some just did as they pleased. Of course, she’d see those children at her dispensary clinic, eaten up with pinworm and filariasis from drinking dirty water.

      We’d see a lot more of it in this country if we didn’t have water treatment plants. That’s why Western people have gotten so much bigger over the last hundred years or so. Two inches taller, statistically. All attributable to better diet, especially in infancy.

      In the Hausa culture, kids didn’t get names until they were maybe three years old. Mothers wouldn’t get too attached to their infants because they lost so many. Once they were eating solid food on their own, then they got names. Nestle infant formula has saved millions of children’s lives, not that such as you would ever acknowledge it. Those mothers bought infant formula because they wanted their children to live. If they didn’t boil the water, their kids got sick. Lots of those kids died. But blaming Nestle for it is just nonsense of a particularly cruel and ignorant sort.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “My mother used to go out and teach women not to let their children drink ruan tabke, standing water.”

        …um, and mixing infant formula in the water sterilizes it, then?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:, wish you’d read the effing comment, Heffman. Quote me the fourth sentence in the first paragraph? Reading comprehension not being your strong suit, and all….Report

  7. Avatar Mike H Rice says:

    Oh Noez! Corporation Iz Evelz!Report

  8. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    Can a brother get a proofreader up on that headline there?Report