At the time this post publishes, I will be sitting down with Scott Elster, Prolacta CEO, and Susan Neumann, Prolacta VP of Milk Procurement to talk to them about what caused me to write Prolacta, For-Profit Milk Banks, and Predatory PR Tactics, an article detailing my encounter with a Prolacta public relations representative.
I am pleased at the opportunity to meet directly with Scott and Susan. I hope this meeting turns out to be the opportunity I believe it can be to help Prolacta improve their transparency and make positive changes to their business practices.
Here are the points I am presenting to Scott and Susan during our meeting. I look forward to the conversation that these points will spark.
- Choosing a name other than “milk bank” for your milk collection agencies is absolutely necessary. These are collection agencies and referring to them as banks is confusing and misleading. Banks retain milk, process it, store it, and ultimately distribute it. These agencies simply collect the milk and pass it along to you.
- Find a new way to refer to milk given to your company. “Donations” are something given to a non-profit, not a business. Using the language of charity confuses people.
- State very clearly on the front page of each and every collection agency website that you are a for-profit company, not a non-profit milk bank. This should be found on the front page and in the pages describing what happens to the milk once it is shipped out. As an alternative, eliminate the middle-man milk collection agencies and collect milk under your own name.
- Create a concrete set of communication guidelines to ensure that all employees and contractors know how to engage with the public in an open and transparent way. Ensure that this is communicated cross-functionally, including (and especially) to third party public relations firms and to your milk collection agencies.
- Make it very clear on your website and on your milk collection agencies’ websites that you have a partnership with Abbott. This should also appear both on the front page and continue to appear in the FAQ and on the front pages and FAQs of your associated milk collection agencies.
- Increase transparency surrounding your Ready to Feed line of products and ensure your FAQ and associated information pages has complete information on this, particularly with regard to the competition with HMBANA banks section.
I hope to come back to you with real and concrete actions that Prolacta is willing to commit to. They have invested time and effort in this meeting and I hope that they do not squander this by turning it into a simple PR stunt. I hope that they come away from our meeting with a deeper understanding of the impact their lack of transparency has on so many mothers, and I hope they turn that understanding into meaningful change.
- Working for Change in the For-Profit Breastmilk Industry (knockedupknockedover.com)
- Prolacta, For-Profit Milk Banks, and Predatory PR Tactics (knockedupknockedover.com)
- Non-Profit Milk Banking and How You Can Help (knockedupknockedover.com)
- Prolacta Update (knockedupknockedover.com)
- VIDEO: Turkey to pilot milk bank for mothers (bbc.co.uk)
- Moms, Milk and Minivans: The Mothers Milk Bank of North Texas Receives Generous Donation from Roger Williams Car Dealership (seaofinfo.com)
- #Miami mother opening Florida’s first non-profit breast milk depot (browardnetonline.com)
- Florida first: a nonprofit human milk depot to collect breastmilk donations from lactating women. (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Miami Mother Helps Open Fla’s First Breast Milk Depot (miami.cbslocal.com)