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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.


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?


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


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:

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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609 responses to “How To Find the Safest Organic Infant Formula

  1. So sounds like we have to choose between the lesser evil. That’s fine, but I am not clear what is worst – soap in baby’s gut from the palm oil contained in Holle or brown rice syrop in Nature’s one? Can the author comment on HiPP brand formulas?

      1. Not so sure, the ingredients list has “vegetable oils”, but doesn’t break it into what those are.

      2. I was reaserching palm oil because I DO use HIPP and IT DOES have palm oil in it?? so why do you say it dosnet?
        please respond
        Holle is in some forein language and I cant read the ingrediants on the box..I have requested english instructions and ing from where I bought it off of ebay? BUT NO respnse at all and its been over a month !!

      3. I am currently supplementing with Holle. The website I’ve found with the best price is:

        Holle instructions are in Dutch and French. You can easily translate with Google translator online. I translated almost all of the instructions from Dutch to English that way.

      1. Regarding Palm oil in Hipp. I emailed the company about it very long time ago and it is totally not the same “palm oil as described on here ” they emailed me back explaining that those oils are natural. Just email the company they are great. Holle also has the same thing.

      2. Does it matter if the palm oil is “natural” or not? This article states that palm oil is used to mimic palmitic acid, a fatty acid that breast milk naturally has. But, that palm oil is problematic because it actually inhibits the absorption of these fatty acids. I don’t see where the palm oil being “natural” changes that.

        If you have more info, please share.

      3. I am interested in a box or two of the stage 1. I emailed you on your email address. Hope to hear from you soon.


      4. Can I ask where you can buy the HiPP Organic Combiotic first infant milk Stage 1 ?
        I am looking all over the place, but can find it.

      5. Viki, you normally can get it on amazon, but it is off their list right now. is selling it and shipping it free to the U.S. Put in grocery5 for a 5% discount.

      6. Viki, you can normally order it from Amazon, but it’s not listed right now. Artisana . Co . Uk has it and is shipping to the U.S. for free. Also, put in grocery5 for a 5% discount on grocery items. 😉

    1. I ordered a box of stage 3 Hipp for my 8 month old and when received I noticed it contains fluoride? How can it be organic and contain a toxic ingredient like fluoride???

      1. I emailed the company about this, and they said it is naturally occurring fluoride but because of the standards in Europe they have to list it as a component. It is not an added ingredient..?

    2. We use Holle stage 1 for our 2 months old baby and they are the oldest organic brand. We buy from this US website as their cheapest average $18 a box included expedited shipping. As I live in NY so I got them the next day:)

      1. I’ve been researching Holle and HIPP. I’ve heard some complaints that Holle shipments are x-rayed when entering customs and it can taint formula, anyone heard about this?

        I’ve not heard any complaints about HIPP other than shipping can sometimes take a while due to clearing customs.

        We’ve also been looking at Baby’s Only here in the US but I’ve read some parents complain of abnormal constipation, not something I want to manage with a two month old.

      2. I don’t see how if Holle get xrayed and Hipp won’t. I dont think custom will see “Hipp” then they dont xray. I think as more people use Holle then Hipp in US so you see more complaints about it. That’s why I will ask them how they ship the formula to here.

        I think baby only is for 1 year or older, I will choose regular milk at that stage.

      3. are you satisified with thos company? Its a little strange to order baby for ula from their aite . Im just wondering if it is a legit business. How was the packaging?

      4. I order directly from Germany and pay $15.30 per box including shipping. It took exactly 30 days to arrive at my door and required a signature. It doesn’t expire until 1 year from now so it has a great shelf life. It’s quality, smells great compared to other brands (when being burped into my face by infant 🙂 ) and it’s packaged safely and with nice freebie samples when you order from . The box came labeled that it shouldn’t be scanned. Instructions have you boil the water for the formula anyway so I don’t think there’s a chance of it getting tainted.

  2. I have Stage 2 Holle for sale. $34,00 per box. I can be reached via email at akilahnisa @ gmail dot com

      1. We paid $ 178.86 for 12 boxes stage 1 (for approx. a month) including shipping.
        That means: 14.90 for each box. Thats much much better then US ebay or most other.

  3. This is scary. As parent you do not know what to do. You give formula as a need not as a choice. I was not producing enough to feed my baby breast milk only.

    I feel helpless.


    1. That makes 2 of us. I don’t produce enough milk to fill my baby. Just received holle formula. Will see how that goes.

      1. This is exactly my issue 🙁 single mom and not working what is my best bet? Please help I’ve been giving enfamil but dying to change to something else

  4. I am looking for a 100% goats milk safe organic baby formula any brands somebody can refer to would be nice to know. thank you

    1. “Goat milk, while rich in fat, is not preferable to cows milk because it lacks folic acid and is very low in Vitamin B12. Both of these nutrients are essential to baby’s growth and development.”

      Of course, if your baby is allergic than that’s different.

      By the way “Lissy” posted a website to purchase Holle Goat milk but the price at this this website is all fine until you see how much the shipping is to the US.

      1. Ummm well first off the site that you sent my wife to still has the same crap in it that is not supposed to be in an actual baby formula… This is beyond stupid all of this stuff should not be in any kind of formula but yet still all of these “Organic” companies are offering the formulas with all of the crap in it…. still putting soy in all of their products and other crap that should not be in there, So how the hell is a person supposed to find a formula for use when all of it has nothing but crap in it? lets get serious here for a moment and actually read the page of information listed here before offering a site that has all this nasty stuff in side of it O.o

    2. Dear Rebeca,

      I’m confused as to why your husband Joseph replied the way he did. I feel there was a misunderstanding or he confused me with Lissy or another Liz. (So from now on I will post as Liz G.)

      My intentions were to show you what the lady from the Weston A. Price Foundation said that the Food Babe posted above.

      Then I was simply stating that if you did go with the Goats milk that the link that Lissy sent you has a very high shipping rate to the US.

      I hope this clears up what I was trying to say. Your a mom and only you know what is best for your baby.

      Wishing you the best,
      Liz G.

  5. I just purchased the HIPP combiotic hungry infant milk stage 2 (by Holle) and while it does contain palm oil it doesn’t contain maltodextrin (SUGAR). Its the closest thing I’ve found to being the most organic. The cheapest I’ve found is on Amazon or British Grocery. Both around $22 a box and ships for free to the US.

    1. Amazon delisted the HIPP stage 1 from British Grocery. You need to buy directly from them or via

    2. You can also order from – free shipping for first two boxes. BUT I received my stage 3 box in the mail from UK and it contains Fluoride… This is toxic, how is it still classified as organic?

      1. I’m not sure. I was just looking into moving my 7 month old to their stage 3 but Amazon doesn’t sell it anymore and I haven’t received a response from them as to why they stopped carrying it. I can’t even locate the ingredients list. And I just read another blog that questions if the formula goes through an x-ray coming into the US (I live in CA) then the powder absorbs the radiation??
        Also now I’m reading about the whole aluminum issue with Hipp. 🙁 What’s a parent to do when all we want is the best for our babies.

    3. I purchased too many boxes from British Grocery. My son is now drinking whole organic cows milk. I’m selling two boxes of Hipp Combiotic Stage 2. Originally paid $26 ea, selling for $15 ea. Let me know if you’re interested.

  6. Hi,
    I think the sweeteners in the ingredient list for Vermont Organic and Earth’s Best are out-dated. They must have changed since this post was written.
    Can Food babe update this info as to not mis-inform future readers?


  7. For the month of October, Little World Organics is excited to offer new clients 10% off their first order. We sell both Holle and HiPP products. To place an order, simply fill out an order form on our website here: .

    Be sure to enter the discount code October10 on the product order form to receive your discount.


  8. After reading your page on organic infant formula, I am sitting here in horror. My daughter is only 6 mos old and weaned almost 2 mos ago. I pump like crazy but now my freezer reserves are gone and I’m not producing enough milk for her. What do you suggest regarding formula? I live in the US.

  9. I’m ever so thankful for these individuals fighting for our rights for safer foods, but reading this article about makes me absolutely sick. Sick that infant formula companies do not have infants’ best interest in mind. It also makes me sick feeling like I’m poisoning my child because I wasn’t able breastfeed for very long and I don’t have access or can afford specialty formula. It makes me feel like a failure as a parent and that my child could be much better off without the use of conventional formula. What is someone to do? Reading this makes me feel like my child is being overloaded with more harmful chemicals and neurotoxins than good nutrients. Basically according to this article, caring parents like me who don’t have any other choice but to use conventional formula are harming their child. That’s how I feel by reading this article. I feel then by reading this article, by the time my child has weaned off of the bottle, my child’s brain development should be WAY behind a child who was exclusively breastfed because of all of the harmful and awful components in conventional formula. My first child was breastfed for 3 months but wasn’t able to nurse any longer. He is extremely intelligent and developmentally normal. I care deeply about our food supply and try my best to provide my children with wholesome and organic foods as best I can, but this article makes me, as a parent who doesn’t have access to or can afford other options for formula, like a HUGE failure and my child is doomed.

    1. Is the FDA not having infants’ best interest in mind. Unfortunately for us companies are there to do only their dirty lucrative business and the question is: whose interest FDA does? Aren’t they sop posed the consumers’ one? We the consumers, instead of trying to find out the impossible (which milk is less damaging) we should seriously and much more productively urge the FDA to do the job they should.

  10. I studied nutrition as an undergrad and am now a medical student and a dad.
    I appreciated the data that was presented. Very helpful. My daughter is getting close to self-weaning at 9 months and I feel like I have enough info to select an organic formula now.

    Some caveats: just because something is processed using hexane does not mean it will contain hexane. It is a matter of heating the product up to 160 degrees and virtually all of it evaporates. Any infinitely small amount of trace molecules of hexane will not pose a threat to your little one. You likely inhale more hexane in gasoline vapors than you would ever find in a food product.

    Additionally, I am a little concerned that someone with a masters in nutrition is recommending milk sharing. It is not regulated and despite helpful mothers’ best efforts, most samples contained infection level contamination including salmonella.
    Here is a primary source journal article:

      1. I decided to go with Baby’s Only (from Nature’s One).

        It is family-owned company, does NOT contain palm oil, corn syrup or solids, most synthetic preservatives or carrageenan.
        They use organic approved filters and processes to remove toxins and extract DHA/ALA. It had the least negatives and the most positives of all the options presented.

        Some moms and dads on here I suspect are a little bit ‘freaked out’ that even these organic formulas have ‘scary’ things and unapproved ingredients. While it is unsettling and unfortunate, I want to reassure everyone that your baby is going to be OK. Even if your baby were on a non-organic formula they would grow up and become a happy, healthy child.

        You might ask why I would seek out an organic formula if I am not afraid of non-organic options. The reason is that by choosing organic, consumers send a message to companies that they are very interested in how the product is made and what ingredients are being used. The public as a whole is becoming more health savvy and educated. Companies need to respond to this shift with increased transparency and research based decisions.

        — I think this is a helpful article, one that I appreciate, but from a public health perspective, I think nutritionists and health providers need to do a better job at not scaring everyone, but providing guidance and hope and comfort.

      2. Good assessment, thanks!! I figure, nothing’s perfect, but why not go with the best available. I child can get an equal or even better education with nothing but a library card, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to send them to the best school I can afford. Exaggerated, but I think we get the point. Any formula on the market will most certainly keep your child alive, but that doesn’t mean ingredient differences don’t matter. It would be interesting, possibly sad, to see two identical twins separated at birth and raised on completely different ends of the ‘acceptable diet’ spectrum, to see the difference it might have, perhaps it would have no effect..?

        Thanks for the follow up, Baby’s Only it is!!

      3. What about the brown rice syrup in Baby’s Only? They were in the news for high levels of arsenic in their formulas.

    1. I have been supplementing with Baby’s Only for about a month and my 2-month old daughter is doing great. However, I asked my pediatrician about it today and she said we should be using a formula specifically designed for infants, so did not recommend Baby’s Only as it is a “toddler formula.” Right now, we are only giving her a bottle of formula every other day or so but I’m going back to work next month and am afraid I won’t be able to keep my supply up so it is important to me to sort the best brand. I’d like to stay with Baby’s Only for the reasons stated in this article and because she seems to like it. The article states that the formula meets FDA requirements for infant formula but with no link to supporting information. Any thoughts on the infant vs. toddler designation on the label? Thanks!

      1. Apparently the toddler designation is the company’s way of supporting and promoting breastfeeding as the primary source of nutrition for infants.
        It does meet requirements of infant formula though I have not personally compared the amounts of nutrients and calories between it and the back of an ‘infant’ formula to make sure it is in fact ok.
        I have read about people using it for newborns and up with no problems. I tend to err on the side of caution so if your doctor is worried then think about it seriously. If the content appears identical to an infant can it will work fine.

      2. Hello, I am having to switch my baby who is now 4 months old to formula due to certain breastfeeding problems. I bought some Similac Organic and then compared it to the Baby’s Only Organic. The nutrition list for Similac was based on 5 fluid onces and when compared to the Baby’s Only based on 4 fluid onces is really similar as far as the amounts. Even though the Baby’s only is labeled toddler to promote breastfeeding, it meets the FDA standards and I’m glad I researched more. I WILL be switching to Baby’s Only due t o lack of soy and such.

      3. I really wanted to continue to use baby’s only for my four month old twin infants, but as a nurse practitioner I saw that the calcium an phosphorus levels were much higher than recommended by the FDA for infants. I brought the label to our pediatrician, who found an article confirming that these nutrients were much too high for infants needs. This may eventually effect their kidney function. I am deciding between the 365 brand and maybe earth’s best, but i agree that it is very frustrating that there is no perfect formula without potentially toxic ingredients! We will go back to baby’s one sometime after one years old when approved by our pediatrician.

      4. Hi Jennifer, I had bought a can of Earth’s Best and later noticed that the first ingredient is lactose, a sugar. My pediatrician suggested that I do not feed my baby it because of the high sugar amount. Other formulas like Hipp list sugar (lactose) as the fifth ingredient.

    2. As a new father of an adopted boy my wife and have been researching high and low to pick the best formula and am currently using Baby’s Only. The only hang up I currently have is the whey/casein ratio. How important is this ratio to a child being feed with formula? Breast milk is typically 60/40 whey to casein where as Baby’s Only is 18/82 whey to casein.

      1. Whey/Casein ratio has good news and bad news. Good news is that the differing ratios don’t seem to have a big impact on the health of the baby.
        The bad news is that it is quite variable from baby to baby as to how well they tolerate it. Tolerate meaning: how “full” they feel and constipation or indigestion.

        It becomes baby’s preference at that point. Hi casein formulas reportedly increase the feeling of ‘fullness’ but some say hi casein formulas can cause digestion problems. However, formulas with casein reportedly have a similar amino-acid profile in the baby’s blood when compared to breastfeeding babies.

        There is no clear science on the issue so at this point go with what the baby seems to enjoy or can tolerate.

      1. Mostly because of logistics. It takes a few extra steps and a few extra dollars to get the European stuff. The cost-benefit ratio isn’t high enough for me. My baby is going to be a wonderful, happy, human being with just as long and healthy a life as a baby on other formulas.

        I think finding and abiding by your level of comfort and your ideologies and respecting others’ will have a more positive impact on society than on the specific choice of a baby formula.

  11. I’ve read that Hipp has high levels of aluminum in it can you recommend a brand that has safer levels?

  12. What about babies with milk protein intolerance? Are there any good hypoallergenic formulas out there? Anybody tried Hipp Hypoallergenic?

  13. My homemade raw, sugar free, gluten free, and vegan baby formula is a huge success. I gave to my infant because I didn’t produce enough milk. Check our

    1. Prices on are double as you can buy from They ship directly from Germany.

  14. Has anyone found an English translation of the Holle package back (vitamins and mineral content and amounts, specifically? ) thanks!

  15. What a mess all this baby formulas. Just when you think you get a good one something bad comes up. I ended up buying a can of Earth’s Best. I was going to buy HIPP but then I found a few posts referencing high aluminum levels. I read this post and I was hoping to get a clear answer but I ended up even more confused. I also search for Mercola’s answer but his answer was home made formula.

  16. Has anyone done a price comparison on which sites are cheapest for holle or hipp brands? Having trouble finding a site I can buy from to ship to alberta canada esp for holle…
    Thank y!

  17. My newborn was on similac advance, she had belly aches and was very gassy. At 1mo. and 5 days , tried Earth’s Best, did much much better, but I was very unhappy with the ingredients found in this article, she has been on holle for 1mo. now. At 2 and a half months old she is doing great.

  18. I had commented on the Baby Formulas issue………………. I read all feedback, Excellent Investigation !

  19. I want what is best for my baby which is breastmilk, but I need to start to supplement. I feel upset that I still dont have any better sense of a suitable formula for him. However, I am a formula baby from the 70s and I guess I grew up fine-no health problems and no allergies. I just have to have that calm me down a bit and pick whatever looks like it will “harm” my baby the least. 🙁

  20. Looks like our wonderful government put a stop to us being able to buy infant formula from Europe!!!! This is their response from them when I went to order more and it had disappeared!:

    Dear Angela

    Unfortunately we do have to advise that HiPP products are not legally allowed to be sold in the US as they are not registered with the necessary organic registration bodies. For this reason therefore HiPP do not have any official distributors in the US, and we would therefore assume that any company that is or has been supplying to the USA have been doing so illegally and they have no authority to export this product there.

    We are sorry that we cannot be of further assistance on this occasion.

      1. Amazon- but you literally can’t get it into the US now… I think there is some on eBay left but that’s it!

    1. Hi!
      Is your formula still available? Would love to buy it from you.
      Let me know. Thank you!

      Cynthia Weidel

  21. want to order from artisana because there is noshipping cost. I was trying to find out information about shipping to the US from the UK.Does anyone know if packages that come into the US go through radiation or any other processes that could destroy the ingredients. also I called customs to ask and they said anything that comes into US for consumption needs FDA approval, and that I need to submit a form to the FDA to ask for approval on the product. I am so confused because I assume that these products are being shipped all the time. Can someone help regarding this

  22. It is much cheaper to order from Europe, (organicbaby but is the US currently not allowing formula to come in the country from Europe? Is anyone familiar with this? Is this an issue with all European shipping of formula or just an issue with amazon ? Need help!! Thanks

  23. I have bought 30 boxes Holle stage 1 from German one month after giving birth to our daughter in August. I placed a large order to cut down the shipping cost. So far I have only needed to supplement her 3 to 6 OZ per day. The formula expires 3/17/15. Let me know anyone wants some. $18.3 per box( this is how much it cost me) plus shipping. email: [email protected]

  24. I was recently given a sample of HiPP from a friend to try as I was looking for a formula to supplement a dwindling breast milk supply. After finding this article and reading some of the comments, I did have some concerns (particularly about the Palm oil and DHA/AA.). I emailed the company and was pleasantly surprised to have received a very timely and detailed response to my questions. I thought others with similar concerns might benefit from reading it so I copied/pasted it below. My original questions are at the end.

    Dear Lori

    Thank you for your email enquiry.

    Unfortunately, we have to advise that HiPP products are not legally allowed to be sold in the US as they are not registered with the necessary organic registration bodies. For this reason therefore HiPP do not have any official distributors, and therefore we do not have an FDA code to enable product to enter into the country and we would therefore assume that any company that is or has been supplying to the USA have been doing so illegally and they have no authority to export this product there.

    To answer your third and fourth queries:

    The long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (AA and DHA) are added to our First Infant formulas.
    The organic oils that are used in our organic milks are never extracted by Hexane. Furthermore, as part of our quality control procedures, all Infant Milks are checked for Hexane. It is very important to us that no detectable amounts of Hexane are present in our Infant formulas.

    HiPP use a mixture of vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed and sunflower oils) to supply an easy to digest fat blend in our milks and also it helps to reduce the amount of foaming on the top of the milks when the powder and water are shaken together.

    Milk fat is not very well absorbed by babies and so rather than using whole milk as the base, we use skimmed milk and then add a mixture of vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed and sunflower oils) which contain a good balance of the different types of fat that have been shown to be well digested and absorbed by babies. This blend also supplies a good mixture of short, medium and long chain fatty acids and the right balance between saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that would not be achievable if milk fat was used. Palm oil on its own is not good as it is too high in saturated fats, but these are needed by the baby in controlled amounts because of the types of fatty acids they contain. The other two vegetable oils provide the monounsaturated fats (rapeseed) and polyunsaturated fats (sunflower) that a baby also needs.

    HiPP uses small amounts of palm oil and we only use organic, sustainable and certified palm oil. As a matter of course, the palm oil used has to come up to our ecological standards. Our company philosophy obliges us to use only palm oil from sustainable production.

    We are sorry that we cannot be of further assistance on this occasion.

    Kind regards

    Jan Lambell
    Customer Services Manager
    HiPP UK Limited

    —–Original Message—–
    Sent: 07 December 2014 21:47
    To: HiPP UK
    Subject: A query from US: HiPP Organic Website – Products

    Dear Jan – Customer Services Manager,

    You received the following message via the HiPP Organic Baby Club website:

    Subject: Products

    Message: Hello from the great state of Oklahoma in the United States. I would like to order your formula to supplement breast feedings. After doing some research, I had a couple of questions:

    1. I have been told you are not allowed to ship to the US because you are not approved by our FDA. If I find a supplier who is shipping here, is that being done so illegally?

    2. I have also read the formula will be x-rayed when going through customs and the radiation will remain in the formula. Is this a valid concern I should have?

    3. How are the DHA and AA extracted? I have read if they are extracted with hexane it is not approved for use with organics.

    4. Should I be concerned about the “palm” oil in the formula? I have read infants do not properly absorb this.

    1. hi Lori – i got the same response from HIPP so wasnt sure if i should still go ahead and buy from as suggested by few other moms. Did you start using HIPP then?

      1. Yes, I did start using HIPP and have been very happy. I actually ordered through the Brit Super Store ( and it came very quickly and was well packaged.

        Incidentally, if you wanted to try some before you ordered, a friend of mine just found out her child is lactose intolerant so she has a huge surplus supply. I’m sure she’d be happy to send you a box.

      1. Kris, can you send me your contact info such as an email address? I will pass it along to her.

  25. I asked Earths Best why they have Palm Oil in their formula, this was their reply:

    Hi Jennifer, thank you for your interest in Earth’s Best and for being a concerned parent. The organic palm oil ingredient in Earth’s Best® Organic Infant Formula is Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified. We use it because it is very similar to the fats found in breast milk. Please feel free to call our team at 800-442-4221 if you would like to discuss further.

  26. Amazon told me that Hipp Formula was delisted because it was not FDA approved. Hipp was never FDA approved it a European product . What changed all of a sudden for Amazon to pull it?

      1. Hi Karina,
        How old is your baby and how many boxes would you like. It is $26 per box.

      2. Hi Sofia, my baby is 3 months. I will like 1 box to try. You said you tried Holle as well how does Lactana Bio compare.

        Thank you

  27. Seems like Holle formula is a popular choice but i am looking for a hydrolysed formula. Did we figure out a lesser of all evils for that option?

  28. There are ways to make your own formula.. Does anyone do so? If so, are there any per-packaged kits maybe available? If not it’d make a great business for someone. The demands already globally in place that’s for sure.

    (This is EXACTLY why we have a crooked system to begin with btw. Elections should not be won based on lobbies.. and if you all don’t know, they just piggybacked another adjustment to our laws via our Head of State, stating that donations made to elections can be $800,000 now rather then the previously capped $100,000. I don’t know anyone that gives that much without expecting more in return. Our country is being sold out from underneath us & it’s disheartening to think of. People are smart enough & care enough that I’m sure there can be a way found around all this.) ~ Bless you all & your children

  29. Nature’s One says it is for toddlers and not intended for babies under age 1…is this true? i have a 5 week old…

  30. I have been trying to supplement with Holle but my baby refuses to drink it. We chose it because of the quality of the ingredients, but he won’t take it 🙁 … Off to researching for another clean brand to try…

  31. has anyone heard of Aptamil? It’s made in the UK. Their methods and ingredients are typically much different, and safer, than those in the U.S. I’d like to know how people feel about that formula. ???

  32. Hi Does anyone know if it is OK to use HiPP Organic 1 From birth onwards First Infant Milk until baby is 12 months old or should you switch to HiPP Organic 3 From 6 Months onwards Follow on Milk?

  33. Great article with in depth information. But probably over whelming. Would be nice to have a summarized version with your educated recommendation.
    Keep up the good work.

  34. hi all mommies,
    i am form hong kong,
    one of the important toxic which article didn’t mention is fluoride.
    i’ve tried many kinds of organic brand <inculding hipp,holle,baby nat(french brand),babys only and bellamy's (australia) and found that hipp,holle and baby nat all contains fluoride),it's a danger toxic for human.
    just babys only and bellamy's is fluoride free .
    and for me,i would like to choose bellamy's after reading this report,
    but they also use palm oil,soybean oil and sunflower oil ,so i've no choice now. 🙂

  35. Hi can someone just clearly tell me what the best infant formula would be then…i am so confused now as to which one to go with:/ I do not want to give my baby enfamil anymore 🙁 and i could not breastfeed because i had HELLP syndrome after an emergency c section with my baby. I bled into my stomach and had liver and kidney failure…my body was more focused on healing then producing milk so BFing did not happen:( My baby is 4 months old now. thank you<3

  36. Baby’s Only is an excellent toddler formula, but its extremely high percentage of casein (88%, same as in cow milk) makes it very high to digest for infants. It can cause very severe constipation and abdominal pain. The percentage of casein in most infant formulas is usually around 40% (same as in breast milk).

  37. hello all

    It is hard to follow this thread as it is ver long, so where do you all recommend I buy Hipp? I gather that is the best of all the options.

    May I also ask which is the second best option that is available right here in the US?

    Thank you


  38. Can you please evaluate the Honest Company’s new entry into the formula market? I am wondering how it measures up to the existing organic formulas. (I did notice right away that is has glucose syrup.)

    (After my most recent (third) baby was 6 months and I went back to work, she had to be supplemented with about 4-8 oz of formula since I could not express enough for while I was separated from her. Your guide was invaluable to me. I discovered HiPP, and she has tolerated it well. I used to order from amazon, but then have had good success, and fast shipping, from Britstore. Thank you so much for your thorough and thoughtful article.)

  39. I think it would be helpful to add Honest Company’s new formula to your graphs. I think consumers who land on this (very helpful blog page) would appreciate knowing it contains “organic glucose syrup solids” (corn syrup) and also Palm Oil (which is written about above)…..Hmmmmmm!!

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