Friday, September 23, 2011

Breakfast for Learning denies promoting Nutella

Below is a response from Wendy Wong, Breakfast for Learning's CEO and President. As per my convention here, I'm presenting her response completely and without commentary save to say I've contacted the anonymous teacher who'd sent me a concerned email and asked her for scans of the materials that led her to write in the first place.

Certainly were Ferraro sending out materials to schools in Breakfast for Learning's name, that'd be a very interesting turn of events

September 22, 2011

Dear Dr. Freedhoff,

I am writing in response to your September 22, 2011 blog entry titled, “Canada’s National Breakfast for Learning program promotes Nutella as Nutritious?!” and I would like to take this opportunity to point out the inaccuracies within this post and to clarify the relationship that Breakfast for Learning has with Nutella.

Specifically, I want to ensure you that Breakfast for Learning was not involved in distributing product samples. What this particular ad refers to is a door to door campaign which Ferrero Canada’s marketing company independently undertook to promote Nutella whereby they delivered product samples to a number of private homes.

Second, I also want to provide accurate information in regard to the blog post referencing an anonymous teacher who indicated that BFL had provided recipes to programs featuring the Nutella product and further indicating that BFL requires programs to follow a specified list of appropriate foods prominently featuring Nutella. Breakfast for Learning has never sent any Nutella recipes to our programs nor have we required programs to follow a specified list of appropriate foods clearly featuring Nutella. Therefore I would be quite interested to hear directly from the anonymous teacher to investigate this claim further. In addition, Breakfast for Learning encourages our programs to follow their appropriate provincial/territorial school nutrition guidelines as a matter of practice.

Since its inception, Breakfast for Learning has helped nourish over 2.5 million children from across Canada and has served over 350 million meals. Over the past decade, the number of our funded programs has almost quadrupled and we have seen a dramatic increase in requests for assistance across the country. Unfortunately with limited resources, we have not been able to fully support the demand for assistance.

As a charitable organization with limited funds, Breakfast for Learning is thankful and very pleased to work with many corporations and businesses that provide much needed support to help us realize our mission. Nutella is one of those organizations, who have supplied unrestricted funds to help the organization feed hungry children.

Our relationship with Nutella does not mean that we endorse their product nor promote or distribute their product in our programs. Rather, through our relationship with Nutella and our other donors we can ensure that more people know about our organization and hopefully lend their support to us and the child nutrition movement.

As a matter of practice Breakfast for Learning does not have any donor or sponsor representatives serving on our Board of Directors, meaning that we have highly independent governance practices. We are a registered charity that abides by all required legislative rules and standards and pride ourselves on ethical codes of conduct. We have an
organizational policy whereby we do not endorse any products and this is clearly stated in our donor agreements.

Your blog comments suggesting that BFL is a “sell-out “ NGO to the food industry is both inaccurate and disrespectful to BFL and to all of the generous food industry companies who provide philanthropic support to good causes such as ours. In fact, many charitable organizations rely on corporate support often coming from corporations who share an interest in the charities objectives. For example: health charities with pharmaceutical industry donors, and children’s charities with toy manufacturers, and children’s product suppliers in general.

In conclusion your blog comments appear to be made without a full understanding of BFL’s decision making process and parameters, and a lack of understanding in regard to ethical fundraising policies and procedures. Should you wish to speak with me further about this relationship I encourage you to contact me directly.


Wendy Wong
President and CEO