25 december 2012

Department of Agriculture apologizes for warning Nova Scotia mom not to breastfeed son on job


(CBC News report)

A Nova Scotia restaurant owner who breastfeeds her baby while clearing tables couldn’t understand why she received two official letters from the province’s food safety inspectors in the past six months.

Hannah Gibson who owns Rocco's Ristorante Italiano in Dartmouth, brings her eight-month old son Carson to work.

Some clients complained about her breastfeeding, sparking a food safety investigation.

"How is this a food-safety issue? “, she asked an officer who visited the restaurant. His response to her was, “I don't know. Maybe the complainant thought milk could get in the food."

Hanna Gibson sometimes breastfeeds her baby while working at her restaurant. Photo: CBC News report)

In a CBC interview, Gibson said the investigation left her feeling both embarrassed and angry. She said it's frustrating one provincial department is handing out warnings while another provincial program promotes breastfeeding in public.

The Department of Health supports several campaigns, including a promotional video called Make Breastfeeding your Business.

After the interview, Gibson received an apology from the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture for the way it handled the complaints.

"Babies in restaurants in and of themselves don't represent a food safety risk," read the statement.

Gilda Salomone, with files from the CBC.


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