How To Find the Safest Organic Infant Formula

I am honored to share this guest post by Charlotte Vallaeys, former of Director of Farm and Food Policy at the Cornucopia Institute and now a Senior Analyst within the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Program at Consumers Union. This is the truth about organic infant formulas that currently exist on the market today and something that needs to be read by every mother-to-be, mothers and fathers everywhere. Unfortunately, choosing an infant formula that is organic is not enough – you must look deeper and understand the ingredients manufacturers are using in their products. Charlotte shares the exact ingredients you need to look out for and how to find the safest organic infant formula available. She holds Masters degrees from Harvard University and Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition. 


Some of my favorite memories of my sons as babies (which was not that long ago—they are 2 and 4 years old) involve breastfeeding.  It is a truly magical and priceless bonding experience.  And for someone who loves good, “real” food as much as I do, there could be nothing more satisfying and empowering than that tingling feeling that accompanies the milk ducts springing into action to produce fresh milk, full of just the right mix of enzymes, nutrients, antibodies, hormones, and other beneficial components that have yet to be discovered—the product of millions of years of evolution, specially made for my baby to ensure he’ll grow and thrive.

But we also faced many obstacles along the way.  The challenges started in the hospital with my firstborn and continued up to the moment my lastborn sipped his last drop of human milk.

My oldest, Liam, would not latch on at first.  I had expected breastfeeding to be easy—it was, after all, so “natural”—but there I was, a brand new mom with an hours-old baby, struggling to get my newborn to latch on.  Those first hours of motherhood ushered in the realization that, in parenthood, not everything will go as planned.

After involving many contraptions, including a hospital-grade breast pump, specialized bottles, and a silicone “nipple shield,” and many different nurses’ and lactation consultants’ advice (not to mention a lot of maternal determination), we finally—after a couple of days—made it work.

When Liam was 9 weeks old, I discovered blood in his diaper and disregarded our pediatrician’s advice to switch from breastfeeding to hypoallergenic formula (she claimed he was allergic to milk, including his mother’s milk).  Instead, I continued breastfeeding but cut all dairy and soy out of my diet until Liam’s first birthday.

Among other challenges, we weathered two bouts of painful mastitis and many days of separation for work-related trips that required a freezer full of pumped milk.

The challenges continued until the very end, and unfortunately, my final memories of breastfeeding are also the most painful.  When he was 9 months, my second son, Kai, decided to wean on his own.  I had heard about “self-weaning,” and until I was faced with an uninterested and stubborn infant, I thought it was just a clever excuse for mothers to switch to more convenient formula feeding.  Again, it was a stark reminder that many things about parenthood are easier said than done, and so much of what happens on this journey is entirely out of our control.

I suppose I was more stubborn than Kai, and he eventually became hungry and thirsty enough that he would feed.  But he responded by reluctantly drinking and then ending the session with a bite.  After a couple of weeks of very tense—and often painful—feeding sessions, I switched to pumping and giving my milk to Kai from a bottle.  I grimaced every time I saw him bite down on that rubber nipple.  Eventually, after a couple more weeks, I produced no more milk, and that bottle needed something in it for the remaining weeks until we could switch to organic whole milk.

All this baby-feeding drama happened while I worked as a researcher and policy analyst with The Cornucopia Institute.  Cornucopia acts as a watchdog for the organic community.  As I carefully read labels in the baby food aisle of my local food store, I couldn’t help but notice numerous violations of the organic standards.  I avoided these baby foods with multiple unapproved synthetic ingredients.  Meanwhile, Cornucopia took a leading role in advocating for the removal of unnecessary or potentially harmful synthetics from organic formula and baby food.

This blog post is for parents, grandparents and others who want more information on organic infant formula.  I’d like to share what I learned both as Policy Director at Cornucopia and as a mom looking for the best food for my own babies.

Without a doubt, human milk and factory-produced infant formula don’t compare, as human milk is far superior in so many respects, including in ways we will probably never fully comprehend.  We can all agree on that.  But in parenthood, many things don’t go as planned, and for many committed, food-conscious, organic-buying parents, that includes breastfeeding.

I will only cover organic formula, and I hope that readers will understand that while there are many problems in this segment of the organic industry, organic formula is still a far better choice than conventional formula, with its genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs), milk from cows that were likely treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones, and oils that were processed with the use of neurotoxic solvents like hexane.  Major ingredients in conventional formula are derived from crops that were sprayed with harmful pesticides and herbicides in the field and likely fumigated in storage.

Organic formula offers an alternative, but it is far from perfect.  I hope that parents will find the information here useful if faced with the tough decision to turn to formula.

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The Organic Formula Industry

If you need formula and can’t make your own, you likely want to know how to purchase the best one.

While there are seven brands of organic infant formula currently available on market shelves, there are only three companies that make organic infant formula in the United States.

One manufacturer is PBM Nutritionals, owned by Perrigo.  At $3 billion in annual sales, Perrigo is the world’s largest manufacturer of private label (store-brand) over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.  PBM primarily produces conventional formula, but makes organic formula for its own Vermont Organics and Bright Beginnings brands.  It also manufacturers organic formula for Hain Celestial’s Earth’s Best brand, Whole Foods Market’s 365 Organic brand, and Walmart’s Parent’s Choice brand.

Similac Organic is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories.  Abbott, a major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in the U.S., introduced Similac Organic in 2006.  By 2007, its first full year on sale, Similac Organic captured 36% of the organic formula market.  Abbott’s Similac is a market leader in conventional formula.

Finally, Baby’s Only Organic is developed and marketed by Nature’s One.  Nature’s One markets Baby’s Only Organic formula as a “toddler formula” rather than an infant formula (according to the company, this is done to encourage breastfeeding until age 1).  Its products meet the same nutritional standards that the FDA sets forth for infant formula.  Nature’s One is the only company marketing organic formula that is not a publicly traded corporation; the business is family-owned and operated.

Top five ingredients to take a close look at  – how do organic brands compare?

Slide1

1. Sweeteners: corn syrup, sugar, or brown rice syrup

Formula manufacturers strive to formulate a product that mirrors the nutritional profile of human milk.  Human milk contains higher levels of lactose, a carbohydrate, than cow milk, which means that formula manufacturers must make up the difference by adding a sweetener to cow milk-based formula.

But in their choice of sweetener, it appears that concerns over the availability and price of the various sources have taken precedence.  The sweetener that most closely mimics human milk would be lactose (the naturally occurring carbohydrate in any mammal’s milk).  But lactose is also the most expensive, and manufacturers have, over the years, switched from this milk-based sweetener to plant-based sweeteners.

Corn syrup

When PBM Nutritionals first rolled out its organic infant formula under the Bright Beginnings brand name, it contained only organic lactose, with no corn-based sweeteners.  PBM soon produced the same product for Walmart, under the Parent’s Choice brand name, which also contained only organic lactose.

But PBM Nutritionals switched from organic lactose as the sole sweetener for Bright Beginnings, and so did Walmart’s organic formula, in 2010.  Their formulations changed to include both ‘organic corn syrup solids’ and lactose.

By 2011, organic lactose in Bright Beginnings and Parent’s Choice had disappeared altogether, replaced by organic maltodextrin, another plant-based sweetener. Maltodextrins are partially hydrolyzed starch molecules, which can be derived from corn, rice or potatoes.  Maltodextrin is less sweet than corn syrup.

Today, Bright Beginnings, Parent’s Choice and Whole Foods’ 365 Organic contain no organic lactose at all—only plant-based (mostly corn-based) carbohydrates.

A similar move away from organic lactose happened with Earth’s Best and Vermont Organics (again, both manufactured by PBM).  In 2007, Earth’s Best infant formula contained only organic lactose as the added carbohydrate.  When Vermont Organics entered the market in 2008, it mirrored Earth’s Best and also contained only organic lactose.  By 2011, both Earth’s Best and Vermont Organics contained reduced amounts of organic lactose, which were replaced with ‘organic glucose syrup solids.’

‘Organic glucose syrup solids’ is another name for ‘organic corn syrup solids,’ which are partially hydrolyzed corn starch molecules that are dried to a low moisture powder (hence the name ‘solids’).  Corn syrup solids are moderately sweet (sweeter than maltodextrin).

Brand Company Manufacturer Carbohydrate in 2013
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Markets, Inc. PBM Nutritionals Organic Glucose Syrup Solids, Organic Maltodextrin
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One Organic Brown Rice Syrup
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Organic Glucose Syrup Solids, Organic Maltodextrin
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals Organic Lactose, Organic Glucose Syrup Solids
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals Organic Glucose Syrup Solids, Organic Maltodextrin
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Sugar
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Organic Lactose, Organic Glucose Syrup Solids

Sugar

In terms of the added sweetener, Abbott Laboratories took a different route for its Similac Organic product: sugar.

Abbott’s decision came under fire in 2008, when The New York Times reported on the various concerns regarding the use of sugar in infant formula.  The Times even commissioned its own professional taste test.  Similac Organic was the sweetest, “with the sweetness of grape juice or Country Time lemonade,” according to Gail Civille, the director of Sensory Spectrum, which performed the tests.

The European Union banned sugar-sweetened infant formula in 2009, due to concerns with rising rates of childhood obesity and the possibility that overly sweet formula might lead to overfeeding.  Sucrose (sugar) is allowed only in special formula for babies with allergies, and even then, it may not exceed 20% of the total carbohydrate content.

The New York Times quoted Dr. Benjamin Caballero, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an expert in risk factors for childhood obesity: “I would be very concerned about this as a pediatrician.  The issue is that sweet tastes tend to encourage consumption of excessive amounts.”  Evidence shows that babies and children will always show a preference for the sweetest food available, he said, and they will eat more of it than they would of less-sweet food.  “This is how breakfast cereal manufacturers compete,” he added.

Despite the concerns raised in The New York Times, Abbott Laboratories continues to use sugar as the added carbohydrate.

Brown Rice Syrup

Nature’s One chose organic brown rice syrup as the added carbohydrate for its toddler formula.  In 2012, researchers at Dartmouth University tested various foods for levels of arsenic, and found organic toddler formula made with organic brown rice syrup contained up to six times the U.S. EPA safe drinking water limit for inorganic arsenic (there are no established safety standards for arsenic in food, including infant formula).

In response, Nature’s One developed an organic-compliant technology to filter and remove inorganic arsenic from its organic brown rice syrup to undetectable levels.

Consumers Union tested Baby’s Only Organic products to determine if the company had indeed removed arsenic from its products, and confirmed Nature’s One’s claims that its formula now contains undetectable arsenic levels

2.  Palm Oil: Forms “Soaps” In The Baby’s Gut

Not all oil is created equal—it’s a basic fact of nutrition science, and one that is especially important for infants.  Human milk is naturally high in certain types of fatty acids, which formula manufacturers try to mimic by adding certain types of oil.  And to mirror the levels of palmitic acid, a fatty acid found in human milk, some manufacturers add palm oil.

However, palmitic acid from palm oil is structurally different from palmitic acid in human milk, and research has shown that human infants do not properly absorb it.

The unabsorbed palmitic acid remaining in the infant’s gut reacts with calcium, and causes the formation of “soaps” in the baby’s intestines.  This important finding has been reported on more than one occasion in the journal Pediatrics, of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Research suggests that the formation of “soaps” in the baby’s intestinal tract negatively affects a baby’s development and health.  Since palmitic acid from palm oil is not absorbed properly, it means overall fat absorption is lower in babies given formula with palm oil.  Bone mass is significantly lower in babies given formula containing palm oil, perhaps because the calcium in the baby’s intestines turns into “soap” rather than reaching the baby’s growing bones.  And the “soapiness” in the intestines also leads to hard stools.

According to researchers at Wayne State University, who performed a comprehensive review of published studies on the effects of palm oil in infant formula:

The use of palm oil in infant formulas to match the human milk content of palmitic acid has unintended physiological consequences.  The avoidance of palm oil … in infant formulas can prevent this detrimental effect.

Despite these concerns, all organic formula products coming out of the PBM Nutritionals factory continue to contain palm oil.  Earth’s Best did not contain palm oil when it first came on the market, but switched to palm oil in 2007.

Brand Company Manufacturer Contains Palm Oil?
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Markets, Inc. PBM Nutritionals Yes
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One No
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Yes
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals Yes
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals Yes
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories No
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Yes

(As if parents needed another reason to avoid Enfamil, which offers no organic option, the first oil listed in Enfamil is palm oil).   

3.  Ingredients extracted with neurotoxic solvents from algae and soil fungus—not exactly the way mom makes it - C. Cohnii oil (DHA) and M. Alpina oil (ARA):

Six years ago, Cornucopia’s codirectors asked me to look into two ingredients, C. Cohnii oil and M. Alpina oil.   They are marketed as “DHA and ARA,” and were starting to appear in organic infant formula without having gone through the proper approval process required by federal organic law.

The oils were manufactured by a biotechnology corporation in Maryland (the company has since been bought by the Dutch multinational corporation Royal DSM), using processing aids and synthetic ingredients that are not approved for use in organics.

Fresh out of a graduate program in nutrition, I could not help but dig deeper.  I have to admit: I didn’t want to be involved in filing a legal complaint against ingredients that might be beneficial to infant development.  I was concerned we might be depriving infants if we actually succeeded in having the USDA pull these ingredients out of organic infant formula (I clearly underestimated the power of the infant formula lobby that we’d be up against).

I soon discovered from the scientific literature that we wouldn’t be harming babies at all if they didn’t have these additives in their formula.  If fact, we’d be protecting them from potential harm.  Studies repeatedly failed to show benefits from adding these additives to formula, and the FDA had been receiving dozens of reports from parents and pediatricians who noticed some babies do not tolerate these ingredients.  In 2008, we filed a legal complaint.

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid, and ARA is an omega-6 fatty acid.  Both are naturally found in human milk, and DHA is a component of brain and eye tissue.  But the DHA and ARA added to most brands of infant formula are extracted from factory-produced C. Cohnii and M. Alpina—specific strains of algae and fungus that have never been part of the human diet, let alone the diet of infants.

Since we released our report and filed the legal complaint, it has become even clearer that these additives are not necessary and are primarily added as marketing tools.  Three of the most prominent and respected independent scientists in the field of infant formula science stated in 2010 that the scientific evidence base for DHA and ARA’s addition to infant formula is “recognized by most investigators and Key Opinion Leaders in the field to be weak,” and that “this field of research has been driven to an extent by enthusiasm and vested interest.

Several comprehensive reviews of all published research have been conducted since we released our report, and all conclude that DHA and ARA “had no proven benefit regarding vision, cognition, or physical growth.”  The World Health Organization’s Director of Nutrition for Health and Development even wrote a letter in 2011 to members of the European parliament, letting them know that “as to date no solid evidence exists to be able to say that adding DHA to infant formula will have important clinical benefits.”

When an Associated Press reporter asked the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on nutrition, Dr. Frank Greer, to comment on DHA and ARA in infant formula, he said: “The truth of the matter is, they’re not essential. Humans can synthesize these. Fatty acids are naturally present in the diet. And the whole issue becomes, do you make really make people smarter if you put DHA and ARA in everything? Or is this just all marketing hype? Personally, I lean toward the latter.”

When the C. Cohnii and M. Alpina oils first appeared in infant formula, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received dozens of reports from physicians and parents who noticed diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal distress in infants given formula with these oils—symptoms that disappeared when the infant was switched to the exact same formula without these novel additives.

The FDA reports that no post-market surveillance has taken place to assure the safety and tolerance of these additives—despite the FDA’s clear request to the formula manufacturers to conduct rigorous post-market monitoring to ensure their safety.

Another concern with these additives is how they are produced: the oil is extracted from the algae and fungus with the use of hexane, a neurotoxic petroleum-based solvent.

When the USDA received legal complaints against the unapproved use of C. Cohnii and M. Alpina oils, a Washington lobbyist with the powerful law firm of Covington and Burling convinced USDA officials to open a loophole in the organic standards, which would allow the formula manufacturers to add the unapproved ingredients without facing enforcement action.

While the USDA has since admitted that this was inappropriate, the agency has failed to take enforcement action and continues to bow to pressure from the infant formula industry.  The National Organic Standards Board even explicitly stated that hexane-extracted algal oil and fungal oil should not be allowed in organic foods— but the USDA has failed to act on this very clear and legally binding vote, and hexane-extracted DHA and ARA remains in organic infant formula.

The only company that adheres to the legal requirement that DHA and ARA oil must not be extracted with the use of the neurotoxic solvent hexane is Nature’s One, which has chosen a water-extracted source of DHA and ARA (derived from egg yolks) for its Baby’s Only Organic formula.

4. Carrageenan: Dangerous Inflammation In Your Baby’s Gut

If you search for “carrageenan” in a medical database, thousands of search results will appear.  Why so many?  Because carrageenan is used in animal experiments to predictably cause inflammation, which allows pharmaceutical scientists to test the effectiveness of new anti-inflammatory drugs.

In a report Cornucopia released earlier this year, we carefully analyzed the scientific literature on food-grade carrageenan, and found that scientists have raised concern about carrageenan’s safety for decades.  These concerns are based on their research linking the common food additive to gastrointestinal disease in laboratory animals, including colon tumors.

But the food industry, including the infant formula industry, has responded for decades by claiming that carrageenan is safe—based largely on industry-funded studies, with flawed methodologies.  When a Chicago Tribune reporter asked both the FDA and the carrageenan industry lobby group earlier this year to share studies that were not funded by the industry and that could indicate carrageenan is safe, they could not come up with a single one.

Carrageenan appears in some organic infant formula, even though the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted to prohibit it.  The Secretary of Agriculture’s decision to disregard the NOSB’s decision shows the lobbying power and influence of the infant formula industry.

Carrageenan is prohibited in infant formula—conventional and organic—in the European Union.  The science linking carrageenan to intestinal inflammation is disturbing enough, but what adds insult to injury is that it is entirely unnecessary.  Carrageenan contributes no nutritional value or flavor to formula, or other food, but is added to stabilize ready-to-feed formula.  Adding carrageenan means parents or caregivers do not have to shake the product before feeding it to the baby.  The alternative is to put a “shake well” label on the bottle.

Earth’s Best and Similac Organic ready-to-feed formula, the only liquid organic formula on the market, both contain carrageenan.

5. Synthetic Preservatives and Nutrients In Organics: A Mirror-Image Of The Synthetics In Conventional Formula

Federal law requires that a synthetic ingredient cannot be added to organic products unless it has been reviewed and approved by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  Two synthetic preservatives and numerous synthetic nutrients have recently been rejected by the NOSB.  Final rulemaking is pending.  For now, they remain in some organic infant formula products.

Some brands contain more of these unapproved synthetics than others.

Synthetic Preservatives

The NOSB rejected two synthetic preservatives: ascorbyl palmitate and beta-carotene. One of the primary reasons why formula manufacturers add these synthetic preservatives is to prevent the algal DHA and fungal ARA oils from going rancid. Since Baby’s Only Organic is the only formula that does not contain algal DHA oil and fungal ARA oil, it also is the only formula that does not contain these two synthetic preservatives.

Synthetic Nutrients

The National Organic Standards Board rejected the use of the following synthetic nutrients in dairy-based formula: lutein, lycopene, nucleotides, taurine, l-carnitine and l-methionine.

None of these nutrients are required in infant formula by the Food and Drug Administration, and all are prohibited in organic formula in the European Union.  Some, like lutein and lycopene, are even prohibited in conventional infant formula in the European Union.

Lutein is produced from conventionally grown marigolds—likely treated with insecticides—and processed with the neurotoxic solvent hexane.

Brand Company Manufacturer Contains Lutein?
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Market PBM Nutritionals No
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One No
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals No
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals No
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories Yes
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No

Lycopene is most commonly found in tomatoes, but the version in organic infant formula is produced synthetically by the chemical manufacturer BASF.  A three-stage process is used to produce synthetic lycopene, and involves the solvent dichloromethane and the solvent toluene.  Toluene is a neurological toxin derived from benzene.

Brand Company Manufacturer Contains Lycopene?
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Market PBM Nutritionals No
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One No
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals No
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals No
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories Yes
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No

Nucleotides are produced from hydrolyzed yeast.  The yeast undergoes multiple chemical changes in order to extract nucleotides, including heating to denature proteins, cell wall proteolysis, enzymatic hydrolysis, and dehydration.  The infant formula industry shared the identity of two suppliers of nucleotides for use in infant formula: one is a Chinese biotech company (Dalian Zhen-Ao Bio-Tech) and the other supplier is Japanese.

Brand Company Manufacturer Contains Nucleotides?
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Market PBM Nutritionals Yes
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One Yes
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Yes
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals Yes
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals Yes
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories Yes
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Yes

Taurine used in infant formula is produced synthetically; one processing method includes the use of sulfuric acid, a toxic and carcinogenic material, and another technique involves aziridine, listed as a hazardous air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brand Company Manufacturer Contains Taurine?
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Market PBM Nutritionals Yes
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One Yes
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Yes
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals Yes
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals Yes
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories Yes
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals Yes

The production of synthetic l-Carnitine involves epichlorhydrin, a list 2B material (possible human carcinogen) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  For this reason, it was rejected for use in organic foods by the National Organic Standards Board.

Brand Company Manufacturer Contains L-carnitine?
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Market PBM Nutritionals No
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One No
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals No
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals No
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories Yes
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No

L-Methionine is required in soy-based infant formula to meet basic amino acid requirements.  Given its incompatibility with organic principles, synthetic l-methionine is prohibited in European organic foods.  For that reason, organic soy-based infant formula does not exist in Europe—another reason to avoid soy-based formula.

Soy-based formula is so nutritionally dissimilar from human milk that in some countries, like New Zealand, it is only available by prescription.  Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that soy-based formula provides an alternative to dairy-based formula only in very rare cases.

The synthetic version of l-methionine used in infant formula is produced with materials including acrolein, an EPA Hazardous Air Pollutant, and hydrogen cyanide, described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “systemic chemical asphyxiant” and “chemical warfare agent,” “used commercially for fumigation, electroplating, mining, chemical synthesis, and the production of synthetic fibers, plastics, dyes, and pesticides.”

Brand Company Manufacturer Contains L-methionine?
365 (Whole Foods) Organic Whole Foods Market PBM Nutritionals No
Baby’s Only Organic® Nature’s One Nature’s One No
Bright Beginnings® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No
Earth’s Best® The Hain Celestial Group PBM Nutritionals No
Parent’s Choice® Organic Wal-Mart PBM Nutritionals No
Similac® Organic Abbott Laboratories Abbott Laboratories Yes
Vermont Organics® PBM Nutritionals PBM Nutritionals No

What’s A Parent To Do?

Parents naturally assume that the organic label means all ingredients were carefully reviewed, deemed safe and compatible with organic principles (these are requirements in the organic law).  It is utterly disturbing that the infant formula and baby food aisle would contain some of the most egregious violations of the organic standards.

Even after the National Organic Standards Board voted to prohibit hexane-extracted DHA and ARA, carrageenan, two synthetic preservatives and six synthetic nutrients in organic infant formula, these unapproved ingredients remain in organic products on store shelves (lobbying efforts by the formula industry are apparently paying off).

Some parents make their own infant formula (Weston A. Price foundation has a recipe).  Human milk sharing is becoming more popular as well, with social media making it increasingly easy to connect donors and recipients (check out “Human Milk 4 Human Babies” and “Eats on Feets”).

Other parents import organic formula from Europe, such as the Holle brand from Germany, since it does not contain any of the unapproved synthetic preservatives and nutrients (Holle still does contain palm oil and maltodextrin).  In Europe, as in the U.S., these ingredients are prohibited, and manufacturers there follow the law.

Don’t babies in the U.S. deserve the same?  When will the USDA’s officials in charge of overseeing the organic label stop bowing to the lobbying pressure of the infant formula lobbyists, and enforce the organic law?

Please Take Action and Share This Post

Let the USDA know how you feel about their decision to continue allowing carrageenan in organic infant formula.  You have until June 3rd to submit a comment through the government’s portal (for the required field “organization,” enter “citizen”). While you’re sharing your thoughts on carrageenan, you can also urge the USDA to remove the other unapproved synthetic ingredients from organic infant formula.

Writing this post was not easy.  As a parent, I wish I could tell other parents who are in a bind and who need formula that the organic label signifies a safe option without any of the harmful ingredients found in conventional formula.  As this post has shown, that’s not always the case.

That being said, let me stress again that organic infant formula remains a safer and a far superior alternative to conventional formula.  Organic formula’s milk does not come from cows that were fed GMO feed, given antibiotics or injected with synthetic growth hormones.  Organic formula’s sweeteners and oils cannot be GMO, treated with pesticides or extracted with neurotoxic solvents.  So the choice between organic or conventional formula is a no-brainer.

Until we get unapproved ingredients out of organic infant formula, I hope this information will help parents make informed decisions when purchasing formula for their babies.


More about Charlotte Vallaeys:

Former of Director of Farm and Food Policy at the 
Charlotte Vallaeys headshotFormer of Director of Farm and Food Policy at the Cornucopia Institute (when this post was written) and now a Senior Analyst within the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Program at Consumers Union.

With a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University and a Master of Science degree from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Charlotte’s research explores the ethics of our food system. At The Cornucopia Institute, Charlotte has authored several reports on influential topics including questionable additives in infant formula, exposing improprieties in the organic egg industry and soy industry, and the meaning of different eco-labels. She is a nationally respected expert on the legal and regulatory oversight of the organic food industry.

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296 Responses to “How To Find the Safest Organic Infant Formula”

  1. Lacey

    I have all 3 stages of Holle available. Email me at lappolito@gmail.com if interested.

    Reply
  2. Tutu

    I thought Palm oil was bad? Holle contains it!

    Reply
  3. Victoria

    In Switzerland there is an organic formula brand called Bimbosan that does not contain Palm Oil. What is your verdict on this brand?

    Reply
    • Kay (to Victoria)

      Do you have any more info on this formula with out the
      Palm oil?

      Reply
      • Laura (to Kay)

        Hi,

        I am living abroad in Switzerland now and I tried to find the ingredients for Bimbosan online and it was difficult. This brand is often only sold in the pharmacy although some of the larger grocery stores seem to have it too. It is important to look for the organic brand here too as their classic formula contains some of the ingredients above. However, I tracked down the product at the pharmacy and here are the ingredients: Partially demineralized whey powder*, vegetable fats* and oils*, whol milke powder*, lactose*, skimmed milk powder*, whey protein*, vitamins, inosito, choline (*from organic controlled agriculture). I am not sure if you can have it delivered to the US, here is a Swiss online shop selling it: http://www.babymueller.ch/c/bimbosan-521c7910a1540. Hope this was some help.

    • Agnes (to Victoria)

      Hi,
      I contacted Bimbosan and they sent me their ingredient lists for all milks. The organic variety appears not to contain any synthetics listed above such as taurine. The first milk also only has lactose – maltodextrin is included in the follow up milk but there is still lactose in a larger quantity. The Super Premium (no palm oil) contain synthetic ingredients so it’s a trade off. You can purchase at http://www.vitadrogerie.ch. I ended up ordering Holle formula from Violey online because I opted for no synthetics and because I read good reviews of it. It’s still way better than the conventional formula I was using before. For now I opted for Earth’s Best to hold us over. I hope whoever reads this finds this helpful. I spent most of my last week researching this topic after I found out that my baby’s milk may contain BGH (as per the manufacturer) even though it’s not allowed in Canadian milk. I wish I knew all of this before but I didn’t even plan to use formula. Better late than never I guess. Just a note – the ingredients were in German so I hope I understood correctly.

      Reply
  4. Louise

    I have stages 1, 2 and 4 available

    Stage 1- $30
    Stage 2- $32
    Stage 4-$35

    Please email me at organicbabylady@gmail.com

    Reply
    • Louise (to Louise)

      We now carry all 4 stages of Holle plus goat milk. Send us a email at organicbabylayd@gmail.com

      Reply
    • Digatron (to Louise)

      After reading this article, you’re pushing a formula that contains palm oil? Wow.

      Reply
      • Kate (to Digatron)

        I think the idea is to find a formula that’s the least problematic. Holle formula, which we have been feeding out son for a while, contains palm oil but, under further investigation, seems not to contain the processed “palmitate” version. My husband grew up on a diet full of palm oil and has no absorption issues with calcium, so for our family as long as it didnt lead to constipation, we were fairly satisfied. Unfortunately, Holle also includes maltodextrin. Again, though, maltodextrin in a small quantity is far better than table sugar in a large quantity – which seems to be the standard for North American formulas.
        The idea behind this, is to find the best option available. Ordering the Swiss one without palm oil at $20.00/box was not feasible for our family, and the next best option was Holle.

      • Digatron (to Digatron)

        I see. Well thanks for the reply. To which Swiss product are you referring? Do you have a link?

  5. Little World Organics

    We have a new shipment of Holle stages 1-3 plus an exciting offer to boot! Email us at LWOrganics@gmail.com for details. Even if you aren’t interested in purchasing our products, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity!
    -Elleigh

    Reply
  6. Mel

    Does anyone know anything about hipp organic formula?

    Reply
  7. Marcia

    I have 2 boxes of Holle Stage 1 – exp date 12/2014 – and 5 boxes of Holle Goat Milk Formula – exp. date Jan 2015. If you are interested, please email me at mpdeoliveira@live.com

    Reply
  8. LWOrganics

    We sell Holle because the health and well-being of our babies is of the upmost importance to us. After learning of all of the chemicals and GMOs present in American formula, we looked abroad to find a solution.

    At Little World Organics, we believe in a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production, and nutrition. We support global companies that embody our philosophy by making their baby-centered products available in the USA.

    Little World Organics is currently offering Holle Organic Infant Formula Stages 1-3 plus Goat’s Milk Formula for reasonable prices, because we want Holle products to be accessible to all.

    Contact us at lworganics@gmail.com for details.

    Reply
  9. melissa farnhagen

    I have a blood disorder which requires me to be on medication, which i suspended against doctors orders during my pregnancy. Once the baby is born however, I will be at extremely high risk for blood clots and/or stroke. This medication helps reduce that risk. I have been told both its safe for the baby and not to breastfeed on it. I know how it makes me feel and what it is supposed to do for me over the long run and I cant believe that it will be safe for a baby AND that there will be no long term effects. It is extremely frustrating to read/see/hear the breastfeeding manifesto everywhere I go. Especially since I am trying to make the best decisions I possibly can. DOES THIS ARTICLE EVEN MAKE A SUGGESTION?

    Reply
    • Maureen (to melissa farnhagen)

      Hi Melissa, While I cannot help with any Formula milk info, I am a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter in the UK & I hear your dilemma loud & clear. I know that many, many family doctors & even Midwives here have little or no training about breastfeeding or the use of drugs while doing so. Unfortunately, in many cases, they are also either too lazy or lack the time to find out definitively whether or not a particular drug is safe or unsafe to use during breastfeeding & just advise the Mum NOT to Breastfeed, rather than investigate whether there might be an alternative. Should you wish to have a DEFINITIVE answer on the safety of your medication, there is a wonderful lady who is a qualified Pharmacist & also a Breastfeeding Supporter at the Breastfeeding Network here in the UK, who you could email for more info. http://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-in-breastmilk.html
      I hope you find the info you need & wish you all the best with your journey as a new Mum.

      Reply
      • Lulu (to Maureen)

        You can contact the Infant Risk hotline at (806) 352-2519. The current logic for most medication is that you weigh the risk of side effects to the baby, mother’s need for the medication, alternative meds available vs. the devastating potential outcomes of using artificial infant milk. Usually the only contraindicacated meds are radioactive, and even then breastfeeding can be taken up again after a certain time has passed. Your second alternative is human donor milk if the medication is really that bad.

  10. Little World Organics

    Check out our new website for info on Holle and a fun lifestyle blog relating to the ups and downs of motherhood! Mention this post & get a 10% discount on your next order.
    http://www.littleworldorganics.com
    -Elleigh & June
    LWO

    Reply
  11. Chantale

    I was just searching for some Holle formula and noticed that it contains palm oil & manganese… Other ingredients look quite alright and by far better than whatever else is available out there… I’m so confused & really sick to my stomach that really nothing is really safe out there… So should I still consider the Holle formula for my 8 month old?

    Reply
  12. Sandra

    Holle Formula 99% Organic no harsh chemicals! please go on this website and make your order while supplies lasts! I ship from the U.S.A.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holle-Organic-Infant-Formula-Stage-1-Birth-to-6-months-/161188654890?pt=Feeding&hash=item258797af2a

    Reply
  13. John

    This literally takes the wind out of my sail. I’m so depressed that I’m going to puke. What is safe, really? I can’t handle more bad news…even organic is toxic…I’m sick. :-(((

    Reply
  14. Tiffany Brown

    This is such a great article, and it’s taken me so long to find something as well-written and comprehensive as this! I would love to see a follow up post with regard to standard, non-organic formulas that are on the market, what’s in them, why they’re good/bad, etc. My four-month old has had the toughest time adjusting to a formula, we’re on formula #5 now and soy is the only formula that has “worked” thus far. I hate having him on soy based on some studies I’ve read that it contains high levels of estrogen (not to mention the fact that it’s so over processed) but I’m at a loss for what to try next!

    Reply
  15. Kat

    Thank you for this article! After reading this article I checked Holle’s website and wrote to ask for US distributors. They replied:

    “Thank you for your sending your query and your interest in Holle baby food. I’m sorry but I have to tell you that our products are not made to be compliant with US regulations. Holle baby food products are not specially licensed to the US market and we don’t have an active distribution to the United States.

    I’m truly sorry but for legal reasons I’m not allowed to give you, as an US resident, any information or advice regarding Holle products, which could lead to import or consumption in your country.”

    What do we buy then? Please do a follow up on our comments :(

    Reply
    • newmommy (to Kat)

      WOW! That reply is VERY telling indeed. Seems as if the usa has a vested interest in keeping people in less than optimal health from infanthood.

      Reply
      • jennifer (to newmommy)

        WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Mimi

    I’ve been on a hunt to buy organic formula, I switched from enfamil to earths best, but even though earths best is organic, some of the ingredients still should not exist in babies formula. Has anyone heard about HIPP FORMULA? What are your thoughts or experiences with it?

    Reply
    • Vicki (to Mimi)

      Hip formula is one of the main organic formulas in the UK. I have used it and find it very good but I think it does contain a few undesirable ingredients

      Reply
      • Marina (to Vicki)

        Yah I’m pretty sure too that Hipp has a few undesirable ingredients, but honestly, I’ve looked through so many formulas and their ingredients and Hipp is by far the most organic with the best ingredients. So I think I will be buying it from now on.

  17. jd is my name

    SO i think this article would be WAY more useful if the charts were “all together” and she didn’t waste 30min. explaining her children everyone knows breast milk is best why you say it for a page and as half?

    Reply
  18. Meredith Copleu

    I think we need to be very careful here on how we qualify moms who turn to formula. There is a lot of shame around this decision, and sometimes these articles and the language fuel that shame. Many moms would love to breast feed but simply can NOT make enough to fill their babies tummies. Others are on medication, that is not safe for baby to receive through breast milk…and still others are adoptive moms and their only choice is formula. Please, let’s support them without judgement for this decision and help them make the best choice of formula.

    Reply
    • Ashley (to Meredith Copleu)

      Absolutely. I am and will forever be hurt and offended by the shaming remarks women make against mothers who choose to formula feed. For me, it was no choice. I didn’t produce and could never produce enough milk for my babies. No matter what I did, and I tried everything, I just couldn’t produce enough.

      It seems there are no good options for formula in the US. Looking at all these charts doesn’t give me a good idea of which organic formula to choose! I’m so confused!

      Reply
    • Liz (to Meredith Copleu)

      Thank you for saying this. While I think there’s a lot of useful information in this article, there’s also a lot of judgement that I don’t think is necessary, and is in fact, damaging. Let’s move away from this kind of shaming language and support new moms, who are already doing a really tough job, in any way we can.

      Reply
    • Jennifer (to Meredith Copleu)

      AGREED! I am a Mom to be and was unable to produce mil with my first baby until she was 3 days old AND only a small amount. My baby would have died! I am looking for an alternative to regular formula and only eat organic fruits veggies and meats but I feel hopeless after reading this! This is terrible! Especially when I see WHOLEFOODS of all people who claim to only carry “safe” products pushing babies to eat poison! It’s so funny because me an the baby’s father were at Wholefoods the other day and he asked the lady about coral calcium and she said they do not carry it because it may “exploit” the coral reefs! What a joke and small comparison when it is compared to innocent babies! It’s even funnier that I said a few weeks ago that the organic industry is newt to become exploited because they are being bought by companies like Wal-Mart and Nestle. Sad just sad!

      Reply
      • Agnes (to Jennifer)

        Hi,

        Reading through this I wanted to comment that I am also a mom who wanted to breastfeed exclusively but was unable to do so. My baby barely wanted to eat formula in the first week! I stuck with it (mainly because of guilt) and through many ups and downs I am partially breastfeeding to this day. I live in Canada and most education regarding feeding infants focuses on breastfeeding. We took a prenatal class and the instructor wasn’t even allowed to talk about formula in class. I have been feeding my baby formula that was first given to us in the hospital (after almost 48 hours of not feeding) assuming it was one of the best (Enfamil) but they don’t even eliminate BGH so I am searching for the best option available to me for the remaining months. I think there are more of us out there with this issue than we are led to believe and we deserve to be able to feed our babies formula that is safe and nourishing.

  19. Michelle

    Important! Facebook says that the link contains a formula recipe. Where is it?:)) thanks!!!

    Reply
  20. Becky

    We fed our adoptive daughter from 3 days old to her 2 month birthday donor breast milk but we started having trouble finding enough milk from quality donors and with our daughters excessive reflux we had to switch her to formula to supplement. She has always been a slow gainer but after her 4 month appointment we felt it was necessary to get her on a thicker formula and moved her to Enfamil AR. I hate that it is rice starch that is the thickener, I hate that it has so many “bad” things and wish I could do something organic but haven’t found an alternative. She seems to actually be gaining weight better and her throw up has gotten 100x better. If you have any suggestions for a organic formula that will give her the same thickness I would LOVE to try it. Thanks!

    Reply
  21. Kristin

    1 year old with dairy/nut/egg allergy. What should he be drinking?

    Reply
  22. Sofi

    Thank you for being sensitive to those of us who must use formula. After 13 years of trying we just had our first. It broke my heart to realize my hard-fought for son was nearing a critical point from not gaining weight at only two weeks old since I was trying to breastfeed exclusively at that point, and my body wasn’t keeping up with his needs. I was told to nurse him as best as I can, then top off with one oz. formula. That isn’t enough so he’s up to four oz. and I have to go back to work. It’s bad enough I can’t nurse him all the time, but now I don’t know that there’s even a truly healthy option for him. My diet is at least 85% organic, so it kills me that I’ve done all this to give him the best nutrition possible, and he can’t truly get any benefit from it. Thanks for listening.

    Reply
    • Stephanie (to Sofi)

      ANY amount of breastmilk you can provide is AMAZING!! You should be proud of yourself for starting off this way. I myself am unable to produce enough and i am an exclusive pumper because of medical issues with my daughter. My daughter gets about 18oz of breastmilk a day and then the rest in formula. Be proud of yourself and so what you can. Do not stress about it as it will affect your supply. Great job mama and keep your head up!!

      Reply
    • michele (to Sofi)

      Have you tried taking fenugreek? I was having supply issues and started taking fenugreek and now I am producing much more breastmilk.

      Reply
  23. aga

    Hi Moms, my son ended up having allergy to cow’s milk , we had to switch to Hollle Goat milk, i have 6 packs left of Holle 2 if you are interested. 27$ each pack.

    Reply
    • Jen (to aga)

      Would love to get the Holle Goats milk formula if you still have it available.

      Reply
    • Lara (to aga)

      does anyone know where i can buy the Holle Goats milk formula? thanks

      Reply
      • Agnes (to Lara)

        I ordered from violey.com. I think they have goat’s milk too. Shipping charges are listed. Import duties will likely be added. If you google “buy Holle formula”you’ll find a few places.

      • Kat (to Lara)

        Little World Organics sells them. Send them an email, customer service is great! Shipping takes 2-3 days only! Good luck!

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  25. Jonathan Thompson

    Make your own formula and you will avoid all the harms these powders listed above have. Weston A. Price organization has a few different recipes derived from all natural ingredients, it only takes 15 minutes a day to prepare. Powders have oxidized cholesterol which are no good for the body, i did not hear Food babe mention this.
    Here is the link, this saved my little girls!
    http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/recipes-for-homemade-baby-formula

    Reply
  26. Robin

    Can the author please disclose which formula she decided on for her baby? I really appreciate the comprehensive information and research presented here. I literally could not find the same quality of in-depth info anywhere else. I am so distressed by the formula options out there and, additionally, the lack of accessibility to the research. As an American, I HATE the way FDA keeps people ignorant and unhealthy. It makes me sick that the huge formula giants (enfamil, similac) make billions at the expense of infants health and well being.

    Reply
  27. LizK

    Jonathan Thompson, I mentioned home-made formula to my pediatrician today and he commented that in commercial formulas, cow’s milk protein is partially broken down because babies can’t digest them whole and it could cause GI bleeding. Since you’ve been using home-based formula, have you had any such experience? Thanks so much.

    Reply
  28. Raf

    I have extra boxes for sale of Holle formula. email rafopie@gmail.com. I am in Chicago, IL.

    Reply
  29. Dee

    It appears your information is incorrect about Holle baby formula as it plainly says it contains PALM OIL AND MALTODEXTRIN.

    Reply
    • Ani (to Dee)

      She did say in her blog that Holle contains both Maltodexitrin and Palm Oil.

      Reply
  30. Heidi

    So it seems that the only “bad” ingredient that Baby’s Only contains is Brown Rice Syrup (with no glucose at all) . The other “decent” option is Earth’s Best, but that contains Palm Oil. There is also a huge debate over the ethical sourcing of palm oil and Earth’s Best doesn’t seem to be a member of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

    So what is worse – giving palm oil or only brown rice syrup?

    I agree that it would be nice if the author had created one chart and also mentioned that option she gave her own children.

    Reply
  31. Mimi R.

    I am visiting from England and I am running out of formula, so i thought it would be pretty straight forward finding a box of formula which has “normal” ingredients.
    I was shocked to see all this added crap that even the organic brands seem to have. I have used Hipp which seems to be the best for my daughter.
    Good luck to all of you who are doing everything you can to give your babies the best possible start in life.

    Reply
  32. Little World Organics

    LWO is excited to announce that we now carry HiPP Organic infant formula! Contact us at lworganics@gmail.com or littleworldorganics.com for more information.

    Reply
  33. Lauren

    We have Holle organic formula 1 and 2 for sale
    baby.organics@yahoo.com
    cheaper than anyone on ebay!
    send us an email if you are interested.

    Reply
  34. Kasia

    Hello there, my 5 months old daughter seems to have allergic predisposition to many things including milk protein (caseine), soy, eggs and probably even my milk so I have been struggling nursing her but her eczema is getting worse, oozing. So I decided today to find a formula that could be good for a very sensitive baby with allergies. I don’t think goats milk formula is an option as it contains the protein. She is just starting solids. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you all.

    Reply
  35. Eva

    Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!! Before we adopted our son I knew that I wanted the best formula out there in regards to nutrition and their ingredient standards. This helped tremendously and he’s now a healthy happy (and chunky :) 3 month old. I share this anytime someone asks me about formula. It would be wonderful if you did a article on baby food as well. We’re getting close to that stage and I would like to know the best store bought options out there for meals on the go. I plan on making as much of his food as I can but 100% isn’t realistic. Thank you again for all your hard work, research and sharing your knowledge!

    Reply
  36. Necee

    So in the end, which organic formula do you recommend using given that they all have additives of some sort? I’d like to know ASAP as I need to supplement and don’t want to use regular formula. Thanks!

    Reply
  37. Paul Thomas

    Thanks so much for this work and research. I have posted a blog for my patients and followers using your information and providing a link to your web site.
    http://www.integrativepediatricsonline.com/blog/2014/02/28/which-organic-formula-is-best/

    Reply
  38. Chris Gordey

    Good article, I assume that recommending a formula is not possible due to legal reasons. I just wanted to add another inexpensive brand for those with limited resources. PC Organics has an infant formula made by PBM. Lactose is the main sweetener. Palm oil is present but not prime oil. Costs 60% less than earth’s best. Here in Canada, just finding organic formula is a chore and expensive venture. If anyone has a link to purchase Holle or Hipp here, would appreciate it. Thanks.

    Reply
  39. Cara

    So what is the “best” organic formula to give your child? Can you rate them please

    Reply
  40. Alison

    Thank you for this article! We bought Baby’s Only after reading the article.

    Reply
  41. Marysya

    FoodBabe, what are your thoughts about HIPP formula. It is international and seems solid in terms of being best for baby. Any insight?

    Reply
  42. Jean-Marie Devory

    US made infant formula has been given to babies for over 40 years and many many babies have thrived. I find it ridiculous that this article makes infant formula seem like it will kill babies. Insane! Yes, of course breast feeding is best but formula is a great option and buying goats milk or making your own or buying formula made outside the US does not sound like a good choice. I have 3 daughters, all 3 were fed both breast milk and formula and they are smart and healthy! There are a lot of other food issues in this country to focus on, this is not one of them.

    Reply
    • Shawn (to Jean-Marie Devory)

      Your point is somewhat valid but only to a degree. Over the last forty years we have seen a huge transition to scientifically modified everything as we have evolved. Much is due to the need to keep up with supply and demand of a growing population, much to support larger profit, and much is to provide more affordable choices to the growing lower income population. It is not a coincidence that disease has become so common that to hear someone you know or someone you knows child is sick, has cancer, has autism, has some rare sickness. While forty yrs ago the scientific knowledge to diagnose many of these issues was not available, the fact is regardless …the degree of sickness did not exist. Since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup autism rates have spiked dramatically . The studies on gmo and cancer rates are scientifically proven. The science also proves that the use of herbicides and pesticides cause cancer. If this were not true then the “organic” food industry would not be as successful as it is. If this were not true other counties including inch most of Europe wouldn’t have so many more stringent guidelines on food and water standards than we do.

      At the end of the day people can either claim ignorance or denial. In either case i feel very sorry for those people. Trust me, it’s not easy to adapt to this way of life but if wellness and longevity it important for you and those your love, it can’t hurt to give it a try.

      For me the last thing I’m going to do is take a brand new perfectly healthy baby and pump her full of chemicals and synthetics that we have scientifically proven to have harmful effects. This is key development time and living a life of regret is not something any parent wants.

      Live well,
      -S

      Reply
      • Jean-Marie Devory (to Shawn)

        You are addressing a much bigger issue than is limited to infant formula and I completely AGREE with you on the chemicals and synthetics but it is a balancing act. Infant formula that is manufactured in the US is under strict FDA guidelines, (not toddler formula like Baby’s Only- BTW) and is heated to VERY high temperatures to insure there is no bacteria. By encouraging moms to make their own formula or to go to brands like baby’s only you are endangering their immediate health and growth. Your argument above can be used for EVERY SINGLE food we eat in the US and I am with you on it, we should continue to fight — but infant formula is much lower on the list than other foods because the alternative’s ARE NOT HEALTHY. Breatfeeding is absolutely the best option but even that comes from milk that you are producing and you are eating the foods you speak about so unfortunately NOTHING is perfect. Instead of suggesting people move away from branded formula where there is monitored manufacturing practices in place let’s make sure we don’t over react to something that is far from the truth. Infant formula is not made with GMO’s, but it might be present in the milk source, but it could also be present in breast milk because moms are drinking MILK?? Infant formula DOES NOT HAVE HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP – it has “CORN SYRUP SOLIDS” which is a CARB source, essential for GROWTH!! I just want everyone to be realistic here and not jump the gun because of ONE misleading article.

  43. Shawn

    After thoroughly researching and verifying from multiple sources that Baby’s Only took steps to filter any potential arsenic from their brown rice syrup, we will be moving forward with this formula and no other. I think it’s a shame that any of these companies continue to manufacture their products using these ingredients when they have the benefit of free and verifiable scientific data proving their products are potentially harmful for children. I’m more ashamed that our country unlike others aren’t taking steps to prevent the use of harmful ingredients in our food. This is a big deal people! I feel terrible for parents who don’t know any better. Thank you so much for sharing. Let’s all spread the good word.

    Reply
    • Jean-Marie Devory (to Shawn)

      Be careful of Baby’s Only – they are considered a TODDLER formula which is not reviewed or governed by the FDA so they get around a lot of things. I would NOT feed my baby this formula as I have no idea where it is manufactured and if they are using all of the controls needed that other infant formula manufactures are held to for safety. Don’t be fooled– be informed.

      Reply
  44. Jennifer

    Looking for the best organic formula for my baby to substitute breastmilk for when I go to work. And thought about getting Baby’s only since there was no palm oil in it. But come to find out that it has brown rice syrup that supposedly contains arsenic in it. YUCK! Can someone tell me what the next best thing would be? Or what are you using?

    Reply
  45. Linda

    I tried Baby’s Only Oragnic with my son at 5 months old. I was concerned about the label of Infant formula, but the company states that it is suitable for infants. A closer look at the ingredients in comparison to conventional infant formulas indicated that the Calcium levels in Baby’s Only were significantly higher and not appropriate for infants. If your baby is drinking a large amount of milk there is risk of digesting too much calcium. I did speak with Baby’s Only regarding my concerns and they suggested to lower the amount of the formula given if the baby is also eating cheese and yogurts. I used to give my son a couple of ounces of baby’s only and the rest conventional formula to help him get used to it, however, in small amounts it caused a great deal of constipation. I found that it is labeled “Toddler’s” for a reason, despite their claims that it meets the criteria under the Infant Formula Act.
    This article is great… it summarizes the exact research that I found when looking for alternate formulas with my son. However, I was still very confused about what was best organic vs non-organic. I used non-organic formula that used lactose and no additional sweeteners. I didn’t like all the additives in the organic formulas.I stayed away from formulas with palm oil and carageenan. I read this article and I am still confused and very upset that we don’t have better options for our children. I plan to review all the organic formulas once again and hopefully come to a decision. I was really hoping something new would come out… but it hasn’t.

    Reply
  46. Holle formula

    We have the cheapest and the best quality Holle Organic formula for sale. Pay less for this great brand. Remember to ask for the expiration date. Ours expire in 4/25/15 as of today. We just want to get review so we are willing to sell our formula cheap! Buy while they last. Happy feeding:) Remember to keep checking our listing to get the best deal!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-99-Expedite-Shipping-3-boxes-Holle-Organic-Formula-Stage-1-expire-04-25-15-/281313720382?pt=Feeding&hash=item417f9ab83e

    Reply
  47. Henry peralta (to liz)

    We are very interested please let us know, our 1 month old daughter is drinking ENFAMIL Premium Infant formula and the ingredients are scary

    Reply
  48. Alicja (to liz)

    Do you still have some Holle formula left?, if is so I would like to by from you,
    pls let me know
    thanks
    alicja

    Reply
  49. Sandra (to Henry peralta)

    Holle Formula 99% Organic no harsh chemicals! please go on this website and make your order while supplies lasts! I ship from the U.S.A.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holle-Organic-Infant-Formula-Stage-1-Birth-to-6-months-/161188654890?pt=Feeding&hash=item258797af2a

    Reply
  50. Charmina (to Sandra)

    Thank you so much for the ebay link. I just placed an order. I struggle getting her to drink formula when my milk is low. I hope she likes this. I really during the weekends.

    Again, thank you!

    Reply

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