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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Replacing the Mother: Dangers of DHA & ARA in Formula

Yesterday I was commenting on a Facebook group about the dangers of DHA & ARA additives in Infant formula. Last night as I wandered through the grocery store I stopped in the infant formula aisle and curiosity go the better of me:  I HAD to look! WOW! Do you know I couldn't find a single infant formula that did NOT contain added DHA & ARA?!?  I know that some parents might be fooled by the marketing ploy of the infant formula manufacturers with their fancy health claims "closer than ever to breastmilk"  because DHA & ARA are naturally occurring in human breastmilk.  The marketing is sneaky and underhanded and designed for one purpose only:  To sell more formula.

Even the FDA refuses to say that DHA & ARA oils added to infant formula been proven to be safe.
"The FDA did not affirm the safety of Martek’s DHASCO and ARASCO for use in infant formula. Among its reasons: stud-ies showing adverse events including diarrhea in infants."

The quote below is from an extensive pdf document put out by the Cornucopia Institute.  It gives extensive information about the so-called DHA and ARA that is being added to infant formulas-which at the time including organic formulas- and discusses the process that is used to create these chemicals, the marketing effect on the general public, the illegal aspects of the usage of these chemicals in organic products, the studies that disprove the formula companies claims and show the dangers of these additives.  Recently the USDA has banned the use of these chemical oils DHA & ARA in organic labled products.

If you know anyone using infant formulas to feed or supplement their babies, please be sure to pass this information to them. Print off a copy of the pdf document and take it in to your doctor, your midwife, your local hospital, and public health offices: Every parent needs to be aware of the dangers of these chemicals and medical personnel that parents might turn to for information on supplementing and formula feeding need to be fully informed to be able to give their advice. 

Replacing Mother — Imitating Human Breast Milk in the Laboratory
Novel Oils in Infant Formula and Organic Foods:
Safe and Valuable Functional Food or Risky Marketing Gimmick?

Babies who are fed infant formula with Martek’s DHASCO and ARASCO are consuming novel foods, never before incorporated into the human diet, which are extracted with the use of the toxic chemical hexane. DHASCO and ARASCO are derived from fermented algae and fungus.
While allowed on the market, the FDA has not approved or affirmed the safety of DHASCO and ARASCO that are added to infant formula. Scientists and pediatricians question the adequacy of the premarket testing that was performed on DHASCO and ARASCO for infant formula, and the National Academies of Sciences has published these concerns.
While infant formula manufacturers claim that DHASCO and ARASCO are “proven to aid in brain and eye development,”171 scientists do not agree—DHA and ARA in a mother’s breast milk may benefit brain and eye development, but studies on adding DHASCO and ARASCO to formula show inconsistent and inconclusive results.
To extract DHASCO and ARASCO, Martek uses hexane, a toxic chemical by-product of gasoline refining that is classified by the EPA as a toxic pollutant.172 Martek also claims that it has developed an extraction process that does not use hexane but has been unwilling to say anything more on the subject. Trace amounts of hexane have been detected in some foods where it has been used as a processing agent. Adequate testing has not taken place to determine whether this is a risk to infants, children, or adults.
The National Organic Program regulations prohibit ingredients that are extracted with organic solvents such as hexane, nor do the regulations allow the inclusion of “by-products of microorganisms” in organic foods. The Cornucopia Institute has filed a complaint with the USDA, alleging that the addition of Martek’s DHASCO and ARASCO to organic foods is a violation of the national organic standards.
Most importantly, this report provides an alternative source of information regarding DHASCO and ARASCO in infant formula for parents, children’s caretakers, and medical professionals. Infant formula manufacturers have consistently given only one side of this story; claims that DHASCO and ARASCO make formula “closer than ever to breast milk” and have been “proven to aid in brain and eye development” abound, while making no mention of safety concerns regarding the oils themselves and the possible processing contaminants. Moreover, members of the scientific community doubt the benefits to infant development of adding DHASCO and ARASCO to infant formula. Parents and caretakers who are either considering switching to infant formula or are already feeding their infants formula can use this report to make more informed health and nutritional decisions on behalf of their babies.

 Click HERE to read the entire report by the Cornucopia Institute