Police in Italy have placed 12 pediatricians under house arrest for “accepting extravagant gifts from makers of baby milk formula to promote it in place of breastfeeding,” according to Reuters.
The arrests follow investigations of the reportedly widespread practice of prescribing baby milk formula to newborns in lieu of encouraging mothers to breastfeed — a practice that provides infants with an incomparable range of nutrients and immunity-boosting benefits — in exchange for “bribes in the form of luxury gifts and costly holidays,” according to a statement obtained by Reuters.
"There are no adjectives to describe the gravity of these actions," said Italy’s minister of health, Beatrice Lorenzin.
Of those arrested, two doctors were chief pediatricians in hospitals. Aside from the 12 medical professionals arrested, other representatives for formula companies have also been arrested.
Officials are still in the process of carry out search-and-seizure orders in four Italian regions and Carabinieri police Captain Gennaro Riccardi told Reuters that his team was “still trying to find the scale of the problem.”
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.