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Monday, May 24, 2010

and to further discuss the "devious" practices...

The American USDA has decided (rightfully so!!) to ban the use of DHA/ARA in so called  "Organic" infant formulas.

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the correction of a 2006 decision by the National Organic Program (NOP) regarding “accessory nutrients” in organic processed food. The new interpretation of the National Organic Standards is based on new information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)....
In 2006, the NOP issued a decision in response to a complaint regarding fortification of infant formula with DHA, ARA and other substances that are not on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances identifies synthetic substances that may be used, and the nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used, in organic production and handling operations. The NOP’s understanding at the time of the decision was that the substances were allowed as “accessory nutrients” under the National List § 205.605(b) Nutrient Vitamins and Minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Guidelines for Foods and the National Organic Standards Board Recommendations.

After recent consultation with the FDA, it was determined that this is an incorrect interpretation of 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Guidelines for Foods. The NOP plans to publish draft guidance later this year that will align with the FDA interpretation of the Nutritional Guidelines for Foods......
Too bad it's not being banned form EVERY infant formula!!  It's a marketing hoax that was thought up to create the "now closer to breastmilk than ever" campaign.  There is absolutely no proof that it does ANYTHING to make babies healthier, and a rising amount of literature to show that it's actually causing many problems.

Heidi Green writes an excellent article about the topic of DHA/ARA additives.

USDA Calls For Removal Of DHA/ARA From Organic Formula

May 23, 2010 by Heidi Green
Natural. Pure. Wholesome. Good. Those are the words that come to mind when I see the “USDA organic” seal. At a time when we are all more mindful of the dangers of pesticides and chemicals in the foods we eat, it’s reassuring to see the small green-and-white emblem that means you don’t need to worry–this product is natural and good for you.However, a recent ban of synthetic fats commonly found in some organic products raises serious questions about such thinking. A statement on the ban was recently issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and will impact infant formula and other foods that contain the synthetic additives widely known as DHA and ARA. As reported by the Washington Post last year and last month, these synthetic oils were added to a list of non-organic ingredients allowed into organic products through a decision by a Bush administration official after discussion with a formula industry lobbyist and over the objections of several USDA employees who had determined such action a violation of federal standards. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and organics expert Kathleen Merrigan acknowledges that the synthetic oils should not be allowed in organic foods. New guidelines will be developed by the USDA. The process will include a 60-day period for public comment, and could take a year or longer.
What does this mean for parents?
The changes that result from the USDA’s decision may be noticed first by parents who feed their children formula, since the synthetic oils currently are added to nearly all infant formulas. In fact, except for some prescription formulas, the Cornucopia Institute notes that “only one over-the-counter formula is available without synthetic DHA/ARA.” Every other formula on the market includes them. The USDA’s decision ensures that more infant formulas will be available without DHA and ARA.
While the USDA does not, in its statement, challenge the safety of the additives, others do. For years, the Cornucopia Institute and the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) have questioned the appropriateness and safety of adding these substances to infant formula and other foods.
Its report, “Replacing Mother – Imitating Human Breast Milk in the Laboratory,” is an examination of the synthetic oils from production to inclusion in formula, a caution about reports of side effects experienced by infants who consume them, and a look at relevant federal policies.
Why include DHA/ARA in formula?
DHA and ARA are polyunsaturated fats naturally found in human milk. In recent years, these fatty acids have received heightened attention in both the laboratory and the media as a result of ongoing controversy about healthy levels of fish intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Authorities have agreed that the fatty acids are important for brain, neural, and eye development; as discussion turned to how much DHA and ARA pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume for their infants’ health, formula companies saw a marketing opportunity. If they included synthetic versions of these oils (manufactured under the names DHASCO and ARASCO) in infant formula, the companies could assuage parents’ concerns about their baby’s development while suggesting that formula is “as close as ever to breast milk.” As noted in a Martek investment promotion from 1996 (and quoted in the Cornucopia Institute’s report), “Even if [the DHA/ARA blend] has no benefit, we think it would be widely incorporated into formulas, as a marketing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as ‘closest to human milk.’”
In fact, leading formula manufacturer Mead Johnson admits on its Enfamil website that numerous scientific studies have shown little or no benefit to infant development, lending support to the theory that inclusion of these oils is just a marketing gimmick—much like the inclusion of prebiotics.
Unfortunately, it seems to be an effective gimmick. The percentage of people who agreed that “infant formula and breastfeeding are equally good ways of feeding an infant” doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent between 2003 and 2004, when the formula companies began advertising their supplemented formulas.

HERE to read the entire article