Bill Gates hasn’t launched artificial breast milk

30 May 2022
What was claimed

Bill Gates has launched artificial breast milk.

Our verdict

Mr Gates has invested twice in a start up producing artificial breast milk, but the product itself is several years away from being available to the public.

What was claimed

Bill Gates is the largest investor in vaccines.

Our verdict

It is not clear exactly what vaccines the post is referring to, but the Gates Foundation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Covid-19 vaccine development, manufacturing, procurement and distribution.

What was claimed

Bill Gates is the largest owner of farmland in the US.

Our verdict

Prior to his divorce from Melinda Gates, the couple were reported to own around 242,000 acres, which accounts for around 0.03% of all farmland in the US.

A post on Facebook claims that Bill Gates has launched an artificial breast milk company, just as the US experiences a shortage in baby formula. 

The post also makes claims about Mr Gates’ investment in Covid-19 vaccines and US farmland. The full post states: “Bill Gates is amazing. He launches artificial breast milk right as formula shortage hits America; he is the largest investor in “V” and there’s a pan_demic; he is the largest owner of land in America and there’s a food crisis. It’s like he’s clairvoyant.”

The implication of the post appears to be that Mr Gates is somehow involved in the events in question: a baby formula shortage, a pandemic and a food supply crisis. There is no evidence that this is the case.

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Bill Gates hasn’t ‘launched artificial breast milk’ 

Mr Gates, via his investment firm Breakthrough Energy, has twice invested funding in Biomilq, a start-up working to reproduce human breast milk outside of the body—once in 2020 and again in 2021

As a number of other fact checkers have reported, it is misleading to imply that Biomilq’s product is currently a viable alternative to baby formula, which could mean Mr Gates profits from the recent shortage of formula in the US. 

The Biomilq website is explicit about the fact that its product remains in the early stages of development, and a spokesperson for the company told AFP: "We currently do not have a product on the market and won't for four to five years. We are currently at a research and development phase."

The Gates Foundation has invested million into the Covid-19 vaccines 

While it partially obscures the language around vaccines and the pandemic, the post claims that Mr Gates is the “largest investor in ‘V’ [vaccines]”. 

It isn’t clear what exactly the author means by this. For example, they could be stating that Mr Gates was the “largest investor” in vaccines in general prior to the pandemic, that he is the largest investor in Covid-19 vaccines as a whole, or that he is the largest investor in one specific vaccine. 

Without knowing this, it’s difficult to check whether or not Mr Gates is in fact the “largest investor” in vaccines. What we do know, however, is that the Gates Foundation has spent hundreds of millions of pounds funding the Covid-19 vaccine effort. 

These include $20 millon (£16 million) in funding to advance candidate vaccines and $200 million (£158 million) in funding to Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to support Covid-19 vaccine purchasing. Gavi, which was partly founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, helps to vaccinate children around the world.

To put the Gates Foundation’s spending on Gavi into context, the organisation provided 9% of total funding for the period from 2021 to 2025, out of 11% total funding to Gavi provided by foundations, organisations and corporations. In comparison, the UK government provided 16% of total funding over the same time period, and the US 24%. 

The Gates Foundation has also made available up to $300 million (£237 million) in forgivable loans to support the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccine doses, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of forgivable loans to support the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests. 

Aside from Covid-19, the Gates Foundation also has a team dedicated to vaccine surveillance and development for vaccines against a number of diseases such as pneumonia and polio.  

Bill Gates may be the largest owner of farmland in America

As reported in January 2021, Mr Gates and his wife Melinda are the largest owners of farmland in America, with approximately 242,000 acres. 

As Snopes reports, a 2021 report collated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Agriculture Statistics Service states that there are 895,300,000 acres of farmland in the United States, meaning the Gates’ land accounts for around 0.03% of total farmland.

Following the Gates’ divorce in August 2021, it is unclear how much land Mr Gates himself continues to hold, and whether Mr Gates remains the largest owner of farmland in the United States. 

Photo courtesy of Masaru Kamikura

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