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USA: ban of synthetic oils in organic infant formula

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The USDA's National Organic Program has released a memo banning synthetic "accessory nutrients".  At issue were some of the USA's leading manufacturers of infant formula that had been adding synthetic forms of omega-3 and omega-6 oils to their organic products. Cornucopia has investigated the use of these "novel" nutritional oils, derived from soil fungus and algae (we reported earlier), in infant formula, because they are extracted using a neurotoxic chemical, hexane, which is explicitly banned in organic production. Cornucopia researchers were shocked when they started investigating the DHA/ARA oils, and found they were implicated by parents and healthcare professionals in severe and chronic health problems in infants around the country.
"Organics should be the last bastion of pure, natural and unadulterated food for consumers," said Charlotte Vallaeys, lead author of Cornucopia's report, Replacing Mother - Imitating Human Breast Milk in the Laboratory. Through a separate FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Cornucopia learned that there was an apparent correlation between the use of Martek's nutritional oils and severe gastrointestinal problems sometimes resulting in highly-invasive testing procedures and hospitalizations. "Based on FDA adverse reaction reports, we discovered that many parents, physicians and healthcare practitioners found that chronic problems with infants, often resulting in ‘failure to thrive,’ acute dehydration (caused by dangerous diarrhea/vomiting) and severe emotional stress on the babies and their families, were often immediately resolved when switching to formula without DHA/ARA supplementation,” stated Ms Vallaeys.

“It’s concerning enough that these Martek oils are being widely introduced in the marketplace, in both organic and conventional products, but there is no authoritative research that suggests they actually benefit children's development, as is claimed by the industry,” said Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy. Infant formula manufacturers like Enfamil (Mead Johnson) promote their products as being “our closest formula to breast milk,” and research indicates such advertisements might have discouraged some women from breastfeeding, which is universally recognized as being superior to formula in numerous ways, including for the health and development of babies. Over the past few years, infant formula manufacturers have raised their prices after adding Martek oils to their products. With the exception of some prescription formulas, available with approval from pediatricians, only one over-the-counter formula is available without synthetic DHA/ARA, Baby’s Only, in the USA.  "After today's official announcement by the USDA, all other organic formula manufacturers will need to remove Martek’s oils from their products," Cornucopia's Ms Vallaeys stated. In the meantime, The Cornucopia Institute also has filed petitions with the FDA requesting that their Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) designation for the Martek oils be revoked. 

The Cornucopia Institute




Food Quality

North America

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