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Nestle and Osem, Sitting in a Tree, K-I-L-L-I-N-G

It was kind of a bummer when Nestle acquired a majority stake in Osem, back in the mid 1990s. Not because I'm some purist, or anti-corporations, but because Nestle is one of the worst. The company is guilty of everything from breaches of the 1981 WHO Code regulating the marketing of breast milk substitutes, to employee exploitation, to testing on animals.

My happy memories of standing in the pantry, eating fistfuls of those addictive mini croutons straight from the jar are now tainted by the knowledge that the producer of said croutons has a deal with the devil. Why would anyone want to partner with a company that's been being actively boycotted since 1977?

Osem went into business with world-accused baby-killers, making them complicit. Now, in an ironic twist, Nestle's Osem subsidiary has purchased a controlling stake in Materna, Israel's largest manufacturer of infant formula.

Osem Investments Ltd. (TASE: OSEM), controlled by Nestle (SWX:NESN) has acquired 51% of infant formula maker Materna Ltd. from Maabarot Products Ltd. (TASE: MABR) for NIS 249 million, reflecting a company value of NIS 488 million. Materna accounts for 55% of Maabarot’s activity.

Materna has the largest share of Israel’s infant formula market, and Osem has refrained from marketing Nestle brand formula in Israel. Osem CEO Gazi Kaplan has always said, however, that the company would enter the market, either through an acquisition or by launching a new product.

Sadly, by patronizing Osem, consumers are essentially contributing to Nestle's global profits at the cost of LEDC's babies' lives. Adieu, yummy Osem Mini Croutons. Adieu, and ????????????.

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