As a mother, you want to know that you are doing the very best for your baby in everything from nutrition to clothing to providing the nurturing care each child needs to thrive in a very big and very new world. For forty weeks that infant was safe, warm and cozy in mom’s womb and now there are sensual stimuli that can scare a baby if not handled properly. With all that in mind, being a mom can be a monumental task and when we are let down by the brands we have learned to trust, where do we turn for guidance?
Consumer Groups and Concerned Parents to the Rescue
Although recalls of baby food are relatively rare, it is common enough to cause some amount of concern. Also, there are enough contaminants in the food and formula that does pass their ‘quality control’ standards to raise even higher levels of concern. The most frightening aspect is that these companies are federally mandated to meet specific processing and packaging criteria and if one batch has made it through, what is to say there aren’t thousands more like it out there? If it were not for consumer groups and concerned parents out there, do you think we’d ever hear of recalls or potential issues? Probably not!
In a recent article on formuland.com, Why You Should Buy HiPP Organic Baby Formula and Baby Care Products, the site reviewed some of the issues we are confronted with. Other parenting groups and health-conscious parents have also done their fair share of investigating and what they have found is almost beyond belief. Almost, but not quite. If seeing is believing, here is the frightening truth about what we are feeding our babies.
If You Suspect a Problem with Baby Formula or Food
While it is true that recalls of baby formula and food are rare, they are significant enough to warrant further thought. One thing to keep in mind is that you will only find out there is a problem if enough people, or a person in the right place, happens to spot some inconsistency or potential danger and happens to report it to the proper authorities.
Although manufacturers and retailers have the legal obligation to report tainted or potentially tainted foods. As a consumer, you have the right to report any suspected issues and if you aren’t sure who to contact, this government site has a list of links to follow based on what type of food is suspected to be contaminated.
Rare but Significant Baby Food Recalls
For just a moment, let’s go back over the past few years to see a few of the baby formula and baby food and other baby care items which have been recalled. Yes, they are rare, but do you want your child to be affected by a contaminated product even it if is a one in a million chance? Some of the products recalled include:
- November 18, 2016 – All 4 oz. 2 packs of H-E-B baby food was recalled even though no reports were forthcoming as to illness or injury. What prompted the recall was a small piece of rubber was found in just one product. The concern was in the packaging end of the production chain and so it couldn’t be determined if other products weren’t affected as well.
- November 2016 – Here’s a scary one for sure! Although this recall was voluntary on the part of Raritan Pharmaceuticals, it is what prompted that voluntary recall that should be setting off alarms in the heads of all parents everywhere. The reason they recalled their line of CVS Homeopathic Products? The level of belladonna found in products tested. The recall affected homeopathic edible products for both adults and babies, and of significant note were the CVS Infant Teething Tablets, and CVS brand Homeopathic Ear Relief Liquid Oral in 2 strengths.
- September 30, 2016 – Powdered formula under the Sammy’s label was recalled because it had not been manufactured under the very strict guidelines set forth by federal regulations and also the manufacturer had not tested for one particular bacteria, Cronobacter, which is known to be a cause of lethal infections in babies and children.
- March 26, 2016 – Here you can see why even those names we have come to trust cannot be fully trusted either. Or, can they be trusted at all? That will be addressed a bit later, but for now, the reason for Gerber’s recall of most Organic 2nd Food Pouches was defective packaging that could precipitate spoilage of the product within. Imagine that! One of the most trusted names in baby foods cannot be trusted either!
There you have just some of the recalls from last year alone but enough to give you a clue just what you are dealing with when trusting those ‘trusted’ brands. However, the problem doesn’t stop there! Those are just recalls after a problem has been spotted. What about the other potentially harmful ingredients used in baby foods and baby formulas? This was just the tip of the iceberg! Now for that big chunk of ice you will not be happy to hear about.
Dangerous Preservatives, Additives and Pesticides
Unfortunately, this is, without a doubt, the biggest concern you should have. There are more toxic ingredients in baby food than you’d ever care to think about but it is something you should take very seriously. Thankfully, however, there are labeling guidelines which must be adhered to even if they aren’t usually in the strictest sense of the word by most of the leading manufacturers.
The one thing you should know about labeling baby foods, in fact any kind of food product, is that when it is labeled ‘organic’ it must be free from chemical additives of any kind. This includes preservatives, additives and even the pesticides used to spray the plants used to formulate the food product! If baby food is labeled ‘organic’ it must be free from chemical additives proven to cause health related risks inclusive of cancer but not limited to that particular disease.
This is a major issue for many companies mislabeling their products and why the author of the article mentioned above recommends HiPP brand organic baby foods and formulas. The company is focused on providing only organic food products and so when they label foods organic, you can rest assured they are organic. It is not a selling gimmick like Gerber trying to jump on the healthy organic bandwagon but the total focus of the company. It is their mission statement to provide nutritious organic food products. And, that’s the takeaway here. Seek products that aren’t a marketing sideline but rather the focal point of the manufacturer. You either provide organic, truly organic, foodstuff or you don’t! Don’t fall for marketing schemes.
Let’s Talk about Preservatives and Pesticides
Within the community of adherents to a strict organic lifestyle, the worst name you can say is Monsanto. In recent years, their industry wide use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have made both national and international news. This is their answer to traditional pesticides and what they have done is to modify the genetic makeup of vegetables and fruits to be naturally pest resistant. Unfortunately, the very organisms that kill off pests can have lethal effects to humans as well.
Recently, judges at an international tribunal based in The Hague have declared Monsanto to be in “violation of basic human rights.” Health activists around the globe are aware of what we do in this country and so this issue is bigger than you can imagine. Some countries, amazingly China is among them, are refusing to buy produce grown in the United States for fear of GMO contamination.
When it comes to preservatives, many are carcinogenic, and have been proven to be, yet the FDA still allows for their use in non-organic foods. These dangerous chemicals include:
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- Sodium Benzoate
- Potassium Benzoate
- Sodium Nitrates
- Sodium Nitrites
Not only are they found to cause cancer in laboratory conditions but it has been well documented that some of these lead to a metabolic syndrome which can, in turn, lead to diabetes. Does this make you wonder if the increase per capita in diabetes among our youth could be the result of contaminants such as these as opposed to the improper intake of carbs? It is food for thought, no pun intended.
What You Should Conclude from All This
When all is said and done, the one thing you should be aware of is that many companies are jumping on the ‘organic’ bandwagon because they see consumer confidence in products free from potentially hazardous elements of processed foods and those with chemical additives of any kind. Pesticides aren’t the only worry as preservatives play a huge role in health related risks.
If you are truly seeking organic baby food and formula, look for brands that have an entire line of organic products. An organic product should never be a sideline, it should be the mission of the brand. If you never remember any of the particulars in what has been said above, the one takeaway is to understand that there are some brands you just cannot trust.