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.

Slide2


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

  1. irene

    Hi,
    If you browse Holle website, you will find that their infant formulas already contain maldextorin and palm oil….. now what??? No organic milk left to choose from?

    Reply
  2. Tracy

    Why on God’s green earth would there be a need for taurine in any food/ drink let alone baby formula??? I don’t get it… I have a 3 month old, I have been BF exclusively, but my milk production dropped almost over night and he is hungry…trying to find best formula to compensate w/ the amount of breast milk I am still making… Makes me sick to have to use any of these…

    Reply
  3. Monique

    Am I crazy or is there not one formula out there that does not contain any of above mentioned ingredients that should not be in baby formula?

    Reply
  4. Lesley

    My children were born 1970 and 1972 , the pediatrician stopped formula at 3 months and switched them to 2% milk, liquid baby vitamins and on table food (not baby food), and they thrived. Don’t be afraid to use organic milk instead of baby formula.

    Reply
    • Dia (to Lesley)

      My mother said the same thing for my brother who is 6 ft tall, healthy as an OX and not to mention my mother is 4 ft 11″ and my dad 5’5 lol

      Reply
  5. Nichole

    When this article first came out I used it to choose a formula for our adopted son. I was so grateful to have such a detailed research article. We chose Nature’s One Direct, Baby’s Only. It’s been great!!! I do agree that breastfeeding and milk sharing are the best options and have the best long term health benefits, but when that is not possible this is the best alternative.

    I also used this blog entry to research the next stage, BABY FOOD!! So many hidden GMOs and deceiving ingredient labels :(

    http://nottheusualtickingclock.blogspot.com/2014/05/baby-food-stage.html

    Reply
  6. Gia

    Also look into goat’s milk. Easier on an infant’s digestive system…more compatible with human milk than dairy is

    Reply
  7. Ashley

    Thank you for this article! We are currently switching our one year old off breast feeding and cows milk isn’t working. We gave chosen to use hemp milk but I have two problems, they all contain carrageenan and even the ‘original’ unsweetened versions have ‘natural flavors’. I’m so confused at how to find the healthiest alternative. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :) thank you!

    Reply
  8. Kaeli

    I would recommend homemade formula. Dr. Mercola has many great recipes. My baby brother was allergic to the soy in the conventional formula we’d use so we switched to this formula (below) and just THRIVED! It was incredible. His demeanor changed dramatically from lethargic/blah to a Joyful, rambunctious Boy.
    This is one of the many recipes Mercola has on his site (some are dairy free, good if you can’t buy raw milk in your area)

    MILK-BASED FORMULA From Weston Price Foundation
    Makes 36 ounces

    Our milk-based formula takes account of the fact that human milk is richer in whey,lactose, vitamin C, niacin, and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids comparedto cow’s milk but leaner in casein (milk protein). Use only truly expeller-expressedoils in the formula recipes, otherwise they may lack vitamin E.

    The ideal milk for baby, if he cannot be breastfed, is clean, whole raw milk fromgoats. If goats are not available, them milk from cows certified free of disease,that feed on green pasture would be a second best choice. For sources of good qualitymilk, see http://www.realmilk.comor contact a local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

    If the only choice available to you is commercial milk, choose whole milk, preferablyorganic and unhomogenized, and culture it with a piima or Kefir Culture to restore enzymes.

    2 cups whole milk, raw (non-pasteurized) milk from pasture-fed cows
    1/4 cup homemade liquid whey (See recipe for whey)
    4 tablespoons lactose (available from The Apothecary 301-530-1112)
    1 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis
    2 Kiddie Krill
    1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil
    1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons coconut oil
    2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes
    2 teaspoons gelatin
    1 7/8 cups filtered water
    1/4 teaspoon acerola powder

    Add gelatin to water and heat gently until gelatin is dissolved. Place all ingredientsin a very clean glass or stainless steel container and mix well. To serve, pour6 to 8 ounces into a very clean glass bottle, attach nipple and set in a pan ofsimmering water. Heat until warm but not hot to the touch, shake bottle well andfeed baby. (Never, never heat formula in a microwave oven!) Note: If you are usingthe Lact-Aid, mix all ingredients well in a blender.)

    Reply
  9. Samantha

    It is very sad that nothing is safe or healthy. We went with the Baby’s Only brand after many hours of research & I was unable to do my own homemade formula when my nursing journey unfortunetly ended. My daughter has had no spit up at all, no tummy aches, no gas, no constipation, & no other side effects. The formula doesn’t even stain her clothes & doesn’t smell bad. She is gaining weight very well & the formula mixes up great. I am very impressed with Nature’s One speedy delivery process. This blog post made by Food Babe was very helpful & helped me along in my journey to pick an organic formula for our child. Thank you for the information all in one convient spot.

    Reply
  10. Lazina

    OMG! I’m 7 months pregnant right now and I’m freaking shaken up by all this. I had no choice but to formula feed my daughter for the 1st 2 months of her life until she finally latched to my breast- it was quite the epic journey when you have a premature baby.
    The hospital gave me enfamil with Iron+ and I trusted them to know their stuff and continued with it until she latched, and now I’m learning all about GMO’s and exactly how crappy our food environment is.
    I will admit, I only caught on to this world of GMO and the stuff I have been using to clean my house to feeding my family in just the last few months- not to mention learning about aspartame- which I was told was safe by my doctors at the hospital turns out it’s not! WTF was I feeding my baby inside my womb all this time!?!? I’m so livid at the medical world for being so complacent and not giving all the information but just deeming things safe when there is research stating otherwise.
    I plan to breastfeed, but just in case I was also planning to look into formula’s and this article caught my attention- I’m not going to feed my kid enfamil for sure! Does anyone have any recommendations for real organic baby formula?

    Reply
  11. Heather M.

    What a wonderful, educational and NECESSARY post! I wish at the end there was a comprehensive comparative chart of all the Organic Brands and which ingredients they do/do not contain. It would be some helpful to have them laid out side-by-side.

    Reply
  12. Amy

    Hello,

    I’ve heard Hipp formula from Germany/Switzerland is organic and very good for babies…. Im planning on buying this when LO turns 6 months from amazon.
    Has anyone tried it??? thank you.

    Reply
    • Venus (to Amy)

      I’ve been using HiPP for several months now. The best infant formula — regular poop, smart, healthy baby girl. I ordered on Amazon from multiple suppliers in Britain. All of them ship fairly quickly — about a week.

      Reply
      • Jessica (to Venus)

        Hi! I am very interested in HiPP or Holle for my 3 month old baby. I have heard several people comment that once received, the package had been stamped that it had been x-rayed coming through customs, since all HiPP and Holle originate in the UK. Do you know if the scanning process causes any damage to the ingredients? Thank you!

  13. Lindley

    If you had to make a choice…would you choose Hipp or Holle and why? Which one gets you the most for your money?

    Reply
  14. Anna

    I found HIPP organic non GMO formula from England available on amazon. Does anybody know if this one is safe for sure? No above chemicals?

    Reply
  15. Paula M. Youmell, RN, MS, CHC

    You can make your own “formula” using whole milk from local animals that you know how they are raised and cared for.

    Reply
  16. Louise Doerrer

    We sell all 4 stages of Holle plus Goat Milk. Please email me organicbabylady@gmail.com for our website; I’m always happy to answer any questions & holle or nutrition in general :)

    Reply
  17. Leslie

    I was just in Canada and I know they have higher food quality standards than the US. I went to a grocery store to see if they had any better milk or formula alternatives. I bought some Natrel Baboo Step 1 milk from the refrigerated section because it looked like it has some of the things I might have to add if I’m making homemade milk formula. Some ingredients I don’t know. I was wondering what you thought of this product? I would be using it to supplement my decreasing BM supply. Would it be better to use 8 oz/day of Baboo for my 9 month old or non-homogenized low-temp-pasteurized whole-fat cows milk I can buy locally?

    Water, milk, cream, milk permeate powder, whey protein concentrate, high oleic sunflower oil, acerola cherry powder (acerola cherry juice concentrate, maltodextrin, silicon dioxide), algal oil preparation and high oleic sunflower oil (DHA algal oil, high oleic sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, rosemary extract, tocopherols, ascorbyl palmitate ) and vitamin D3

    Reply
  18. Julie

    Since all of the US formulas are not suitable, it would be really helpful to review some European formulas, as well. We have been struggling with digestive issues in my 6 month old, who has been breast and formula fed from birth due to low milk supply. We were using Similac for fussiness and gas, and it helped, but didn’t alleviate the problem. It is appalling that I can’t trust that what I feed my baby isn’t toxic to him. Thank you for this info. I just ordered Hipp formula from Amazon per recommendations from other moms on this site. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sharmin (to Julie)

      Hi. my baby also gets digestive problems with most baby formulas including Baby’s only. Did HiPP help your baby? If not, any other alternative?

      Thanks for advice

      Reply
  19. Helena

    I recently moved to the States and have been trying to figure out what to do for my child. She has been drinking HIPP since I switched her from breastfeeding. I realised that I could not find HIPP easily over here and so was trying to figure out if any US formulas were good equivalents. After reading this, I guess not. I will have to see about continuing to get HIPP through amazon.

    Reply
  20. Susie

    Just FYI: The Wayne State University study mentioned in this article that was published in Pediatrics in 2003 regarding palm oil in infant formula was partially funded by Abbott Laboratories, makers of Similac. In 2004, there was a comment sent to Pediatrics’ editor regarding this study, stating that:

    “It is important to provide the reader with a human milk control group, the comparative gold standard to which infant formulas are compared. Equally important is the large variation in published normative data for BMC (bone mineral content) and BMD (bone mineral density) of both human-milk–fed and formula-fed infants. The study by Koo et al neglects to point out that the BMC and BMD values after feeding the palm olein-containing formula are well within published normative range. The authors go on to state that it is not known whether the differences in BMC and BMD between infants fed formulas with or without palm olein would present beyond 6 months, because there is no literature available. However, it is well published that the bone health of mother’s milk feeders is lower than formula feeders and does not correct itself until the toddler years.
    Similar studies on bone health have been conducted on both formula- and human-milk–fed infants. These studies have the same time intervals for testing as Koo et al, i.e., baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. The clinical significance of the Koo et al article is not established, because there is no evidence that bone mineral accre- tion higher than that found in breastfed infants is beneficial.”

    This is why I am so glad to have access to Pub Med. If you’ve noticed, Abbot Lab’s Similar Organic does not have palm oil in it – not sure if that’s due to this study or if that’s something that they can say they’re better than their competitors (probably primarily Enfamil) and then cite this study. Who knows. I’m not saying that Enfamil is better or palm oil is good to have in formulas, but I think it’s important for the general public to understand whether a study is presenting clinical significance, which actually mean something, and not just statistical significance, which can mean nothing in real life terms.

    Reply
  21. Melissa Longo

    I am a new, first time mother. My son is now 2 months old and was born 5 weeks early (thank goodness he was healthy enough and did not have to be admitted to the NICU). Unfortunately, my milk production from inception has been very low so the physicians ordered that we supplement with formula. I was given Similac from the hospital and continued to do so for the first month until I started reading all the ingredients, doing research and came across the Cornucopia article. To my disbelief and dismay I was completely horrified to see all the carcinogens listed in so many of the formulas. I decided to go with Baby’s Only Organics – the lesser of all the evils I guess! (my pediatrician never had heard of it, thinks it is a little too high in calcium and iron for a new born, but said if my son thrives on it then I should proceed). I also had ordered the Holle brand, but my pediatrician was adamant about me giving this to our infant. She said that it is goat’s milk based and not regulated by the FDA and that goats milk has a whole array of other issues such as certain bacterias that can affect an infant. So, hence the decision to go with Baby’s Only Organic. The first week our baby was doing very well on it, but in the past two weeks he has become extremely constipated, straining and crying as he tries to relieve his bowel movements, has been spitting up a lot and seems to get some acid reflux. I am seeing the pediatrician in the next few days and will discuss what we should do. But, I am dreading the thought of having to take him off of the Baby’s Only and being prescribed Gerber’s Good Start or any of the other US formulas. I have asked a ton of mothers that now have toddlers what they fed their newborns and many said Good Start or Alimentum at least for the first six months. All of their children are thriving, developing nicely and did well on these formulas. Just wondering if I do need to switch, perhaps I can give my son one of these formulas for the next few months and switch him back to Baby’s Only when he is 6 or 7 months old? Making my own formula really does not appeal to me and going the route of donor milk is definitely not appealing to me (I feel I would have no control over what the donor is feeding her body with and I think of all the potential negatives when it comes to hygiene). Would appreciate any thoughts, suggestions, feedback.

    Thank you much.

    Reply
    • Sarah (to Melissa Longo)

      Both my sons were fed Alimentum (born in 2000 and 2002). My oldest was on it for almost 2 years because he needed the nutrients as he could not have cow’s milk. I’ll just say that he has Autism. My youngest has had bowel issues from birth, projectile vomiting, vomiting with each bowel movement, severe constipation and acid reflux. Alimentum seemed to agree with him best of all the others we tried. This next baby that we are having will not be fed any conventional formulas. I wish so badly that I could breastfeed, but I will not be able to due to heart medications I have to take. I’m planning on researching more into European formulas, but if I had to choose an American one, I would pick Similac Organic or Baby’s Only as they seem the lesser of the evils. I’m very sorry your little guy is having troubles, could partially be from being premature and not having a fully developed GI system. As a RN, I have learned that MD’s are not nutritionists and generally speaking do not know their facts when it comes to truly healthy foods and best options. The US could stand to model Europe a bit more in terms of food safety, medical advancements and safe medications. The US is notoriously behind Europe is all categories. I encourage you to find an organic nutritionist, keep doing research, visit a health foods store or something before you settle with conventional formula. Our bodies are not meant to eat chemicals, pesticides, hormones and the like. If we were, we just eat those ingredients and forget actual food. Good luck :)

      Reply
  22. Prudence

    I’m completely disturbed and saddened. Thank you for this article. It’s an eye opener.

    Reply
  23. Darcy

    Which formula did you choose?

    Reply
    • Melissa Longo (to Darcy)

      I am still using the Baby Organics formula and giving my son a half teaspoon of brown sugar in two tablespoons of water to help soften his stool. I am also trying other methods to help soften his stool. The thought of purchasing Gerber Good Start, Enfamil or Similac is just too disturbing for me! If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations on other formulas, please let me know. Thank you.

      Reply
      • jia (to Melissa Longo)

        When I read this article, I was shocked.I am a China mother, ease of milk powder is not found in the China, so i choose baby’s only for my baby.Now I find that it is not safe, how should I do

  24. todd

    So nobody should buy any organic formula because they are all compromised? There is no safest formula?

    Reply
  25. Sarah

    I just looked up Holle ingredients and it looks like the palm oil and maltodextrin are sourced organically. Does this make them ok?

    Reply
  26. Lohra

    I didn’t produce enough milk -3-4 ounces a day at birth. I knew all about the dangers of formulas being that I am a raw alkaline vegan… I made my own from scratch-all healthy whole foods ingredients. Pretty soon, I started getting calls from other Mothers in the same situation. Before I knew, I created a website so other could made the formula like I did. coopersrecipe.com… It has changed so many lifes!! I am so happy especially for my son who reached the top 85% at 10 months! Even my doctor recommends it!

    Reply
  27. Kelly

    All Hipp Organic formulas contain palm oil (and soy lecithin). See the product list here: http://www.hipp.co.uk/uploads/documents/product%20information%20sheet%20-%20ingredients%20june%2013%20-%20combiotic%20milks.pdf

    Does anyone know if this is a better form of palm oil that does not cause soapiness and calcium/fat absorption problems?

    Reply
  28. Ashley Rey

    Do you have a recipe that you would reccomend for homemade organic baby formula? I would love to do this!!!

    Reply
  29. Melissa (to Jia)

    Jia, I think you may have misread my comment regarding Baby’s Only organics. We are currently using this brand because we felt it was the best one considering that all the other formulas have so many scary chemicals in it. Not sure where you heard that Baby’s Only Organics is not safe? Again, every parent needs to make their own cognitive decision as to what is best for their babies. For us, we are doing the Baby’s Only Organics. I have now been giving our 3 month old an ounce of water twice a day (in between feedings) as well as every other day mixing an ounce of organic prune juice with the formula and it seems to be helping with softening his stools.

    Reply
  30. Melissa (to Lohra and Kate)

    Lohra thanks for sharing your recipe sight – I am going to take a look at it and speak with my pediatrician to see if it’s ok to try – this would be the most ideal scenario!! Thanks again!!

    Kate, you mentioned a Swiss formula that is $20.00 a box and has no palm oil. Can you let me know which brand you are referring to?

    Thank you again.

    Reply
  31. Alison

    I just deleted my post from your Facebook page because someone was extremely rude in their comments. I was trying to get more input about this article so that I could ask my doctor informed questions. They slammed me for asking your advice. My baby is in the NICU. I am not yet producing enough milk to provide the calories he needs to gain weight nor is he able to breast feed long enough without tiring out. He is on a feeding tube and his calories are being supplemented with both donor milk and formula. He will go home on both breast milk and formula so I want to know good questions to ask my doctor as to the formula choice.

    Reply
  32. ophie

    Was switching from nursing my 8 mnth old because of weight loss. Not anymore I will deal with being skinny minny in order for my baby to have healthy food. I will just put that extra $from the formula to protein rich foods for myself. Thanks for the information. Maybe I will supplement with goats milk as well.

    Reply
  33. Kristina

    We talk about the few chemicals in formula but what about the 300+ in breast milk! I mean if I you offered me a smoothie with some antibodies but 300+ chemicals I would laugh at you and of course not drink it! I just don’t get how we are talking about gmo and organic, when breast milk is full of chemicals. I just don’t understand how we are not talking about the risks involved with breastfeeding in our industrial society!

    Reply
  34. Natures1momma

    Hello, I am using natures one lacto relief. So far, so good. From what I can tell, this is a great company. It is not publicly traded, corporate owned to please its investors and lobbyist. They seem to not use most of the ingredients that seem harmful mentioned in this article. I appreciate that. On their website, this is what they have to say about the nucleotides as in ingredient:

    “Baby’s Only Organic® LactoReliefTM Formula contains naturally occurring nucleotides found in organic cow’s milk protein. Nature’s One® believes this is adequate to meet the growth and development needs of children. These organic nucleotides are not declared on Baby’s Only Organic’s label because it is not an ingredient addition – instead they occur naturally as mentioned.

    Nutritional science and the medical community have not determined if there are any added benefits for added nucleotides – especially since all are synthetically derived. The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition weighs-in on this subject as well commenting that “…additional studies are needed to understand the mechanism of action, confirm clinical endpoints, and monitor the long-term effects of adding nucleotides to formula.” 1

    Most importantly, nucleotides added to conventional and organic formulas are derived by synthetic, non-organic methods. There are presently no organic or natural sources for nucleotides. We are therefore concerned about the harmful effects of the chemicals used to process nucleotides and the synthetic source of nucleotides; especially since the benefits of their addition have not been clearly demonstrated”

    So as you can see, this is not an synthetic addition like the others may have. Though I am not sure as I have not read up on the other brands of organic formulas mentioned. However, with regards to Taurine, I am curious and I did email Nature’s One to gain more insight as to this ingredient in their product. So far though, based on the information in this article, which is helpful, this product really appears to be the safest and most honestly advertised in the US Market and based on what I have read and researched, I feel it is good quality and would recommend it for mothers who are unable to nurse. Of course, I hear there are great goats milk recipes out there if you prefer to make formulas as well and have the time.

    Reply
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. Lohra (to Henry peralta)

    check out http://www.coopersrecipe.com

    Reply
  39. Digatron (to Louise)

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

    Reply
  40. 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.

    Reply
  41. Digatron (to Digatron)

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

    Reply
  42. Monique (to Digatron)

    I was thinking the same thing! I was shocked at he effects of palm oil mentioned in this article. All babies need fat and calcium and my 9 month old breastfed baby is in the 2nd percentile for weight. The last thing I want to do is supplement with a formula that blocks calcium and fat absorption.

    Reply
  43. 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
  44. OCBecks (to Digatron)

    Did you find out which swiss brand she was referring to>?

    Reply
  45. Becky (to Kate)

    What’s the name of the Swiss one you mentioned?

    Reply
  46. Beck (to Kate)

    What Swiss brand are you referring to that doesn’t have palm oil? I’d like to look into this as would others on this blog.

    Reply
  47. Ollie (to Becky)

    I think the swiss brand would be Holle? We got ours from http://www.littleorganics.com.au

    Reply

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