Monday, December 01, 2008

Melamine, E sakazakii, BPA hit the US... and iron

Having promised you - and me - that I will not spend inordinate time bashing the formula industry's practices, and that I would spend my time building the environment that enable breastfeeding, I am still struck that, due to the realities of commercial formula, there is often little difference between the two.

The formula industry advertises its product as "safe." There is no such thing as a totally safe commercial product for a vulnerable population. Pharmaceuticals undergo much greater quality control and sterility in processing, and yet mistakes are made.

The mix of dehydrated cow's milk and additives is an excellent medium for bacterial growth. The surprise is that outbreaks are not more often diagnosed - perhaps this stems from the belief that frequent diarrhea and infections are "normal" in infants. We clearly have an under-reporting of negative episodes.

So, back to the product on hand - the one with traces of melamine, occasional deadly and frequent less illness-creating factors. It's an okay food for human beings who are built to take a lot. But infants, as resilient as they may be, do not have adult defenses. We need a much lower tolerance for recalls and contaminants in the foods we feed to infants than we have today.

Unfortunately, we seem to add stuff to formula all the time. Iron is a fine addition for the older child, but is good food for gut infections in the youngest. Now, research is showing damaging impact of too much iron on the brain in the early weeks/months. Does your WIC program use formula with iron at all ages?

Next post will be back to what we can do creatively to ensure an enabling environment...

1 comment:

Nicoled16 said...

Hi Miriam,

I hope you are well - I miss talking to you and Dotti and I'm glad you're back from your travels! I just wanted to let you know that I'm working on ensuring an enabling environment at work, by both sharing with anyone and everyone who will listen about the virtues and benefits of breastfeeding, and about the relative ease & cost-effectiveness of pumping when back at work. I'm also on a bit of a campaign to get an official lactation room put into our building, and have enlisted the help of a few expectant mamas here. :)

xoxo, Nicole