“I was the living evidence of their negligence.” In this episode of the Whistleblower of the Week podcast, FBI whistleblower Jane Turner talks with Nestlé whistleblower Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi. Dr. Motarjemi joined Nestlé in 2000 as its corporate food safety manager and was in charge of food safety at the global level, working in the head office based in Switzerland. She talks with Jane about her education and career path to Nestlé and details the food safety issues at the company she soon noticed, telling Turner that in the first 5 or 6 years of her time at Nestlé, it was a “battle to improve food safety.” Some of the things Dr. Motarjemi tried to raise awareness about within the company were babies choking on certain Nestlé biscuits, chemicals in pet food, and E. coli found in cookie dough. In 2005, she advocated for transparency in a situation in which infant formula had to be recalled because of a presence of ink from the packaging. She and Turner discuss the global ramifications of these food safety issues.
In this episode, Dr. Motarjemi also talks with Turner about the efforts she went to to raise concerns about the food safety issues and mishandling of food safety management. She delves into the harsh and extensive retaliation and psychological harassment she faced; she also talks about the repercussions of said retaliation on her physical and mental health. Dr. Motarjemi recounts her battle in court with Nestlé and her fight to prove that she was speaking truth to power and trying to protect consumers. Finally, she and Turner talk about having a fierce spirit of a whistleblower and what shaped her strong conscience.