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Children's charity under fire for milk sponsorship

A CHILDREN'S charity has come under fire for accepting sponsorship from a milk formula company for its annual 'Big Toddle' fundraiser.

Barnardos has raised the ire of breast-milk lobby groups for accepting sponsorship from Cow&Gate for a fundraiser that encourages creches and junior schools to do a sponsored walk.

They claim that the sponsorship by the company breaches World Health Organisation guidelines on the advertising of milk formula, allegations that Danone, the owner of the Cow&Gate brand, denies.

Barnardos defended the arrangement, saying that it was "not an attempt to influence any parent's decision making about their infant".

It said: "These are incredibly challenging times for organisations like Barnardos," adding: "We couldn't do what we do without the support of businesses."

The issue of milk-formula companies sponsoring events caused controversy last year when a midwife, Philomena Canning, turned down an award for her work because it was backed by the company that owns the SMA brand.

Danone sponsored the Barnardo's event for its first nine years, but this year's is the first where its baby food brand features in the adverts.

Irish Independent