Newcastle mum's campaign sways Woolies

A NEWCASTLE mum’s petition has prompted one of Australia’s largest supermarket chains to take a product off its shelves after just two days.

Maryland’s Jessica Williams, a nurse and midwife, began an online petition on Change.org last week calling for Woolworths to drop a range of Bebi fruit juices for infants.

Mrs Williams’s petition, which called for Woolworths to stop distributing the juices on nutritional grounds, was posted on Wednesday last week.

Two days later, it had drawn 12,500 signatures and a response from the supermarket giant.

Woolworths explained its decision on its Facebook site following several posts on the issue, some of which criticised it for the decision.

‘‘What is clear is that there is widespread debate about the suitability of a juice product made specifically for infants,’’ the company posted.

‘‘Given this, we’ve listened to our concerned customers and made the decision to delist the Bebi organic White Grape fruit drink and Bebi organic Apple and Banana fruit drink from our range and it will come off our shelves over coming weeks.’’

Mrs Williams said she had expected a strong response but was surprised at the movement’s speed.

She said she believed the products, which are sold with an attached teat, were an unhealthy option for young children.

‘‘I’m very passionate about a lot of things, and when I get passionate about something I want to make sure other people are educated,’’ Mrs Williams said.

‘‘I hope it makes companies like [Woolworths] very aware of products before they start stocking them.’’

A Bebi spokesman said their range of waters would remain on-shelf and they were in talks with Woolworths to ‘‘come up with a solution’’ following the campaign.

‘‘We’re only a small Australian company,’’ the spokesman said. ‘‘All our products are aimed for children over six months and we’re firm believers that breast is best."

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