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 Tricks of the Infant Food Industry III

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Nombre de messages : 1737
Localisation : Montréal
Date d'inscription : 01/06/2005

MessageSujet: Tricks of the Infant Food Industry III   Mer 26 Avr - 19:11

The WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes

The aim of the Code is: . . .
to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and by the proper use of breastmilk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.

The code includes ten main provisions:

1. No advertising of breastmilk substitutes.
2. No free samples of breastmilk substitutes to mothers.
3. No promotion of products through health care facilities.
4. No company mothercraft nurses to advise mothers.
5. No gifts or personal samples to health workers.
6. No words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding, including pictures of infants, on the labels of the products.
7. Information to health workers should be scientific and factual.
8. All information on artificial feeding, including the labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and the costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding.
9. Unsuitable products, such as sweetened condensed milk, should not be promoted for babies.
10. All products should be of a high quality and take into account the climatic and storage conditions of the country where they are used.


WATER: May contain high levels of fluoride.

CORN SYRUP: Contains glucose. Mother's milk contains lactose as the main carbohydrate. Not all brands of formula contain lactose.

SUCROSE: Contains no lactose. The wrong sugar for babies.

SOY OIL: Processed using high temperatures and chemicals, bleached and deodorized. Likely to be rancid.

WHEY PROTEIN: High temperature processing likely to destroy fragile whey proteins.

SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE: Highly processed, contains phytoestrogens that can adversely affect baby's hormonal development and depress thyroid function. Does not have GRAS status.

CARRAGEENAN: Extremely hard to digest. In most ready-mixed formulas, carrageenan is one of the main causes of digestive disorders in formula-fed infants, not lactose-intolerance. Caused liver problems and retarded growth in rats.

SOY LECITHIN: Extracted from the soy oil sludge. Likely to be high in pesticides.

SYNTHETIC VITAMINS: Often have the opposite effect of vitamins naturally occurring in food.

FREE GLUTAMIC ACID (MSG) and ASPARTIC ACID: Neurotoxins formed during processing of milk and soy protein powders. Levels are especially high in hypoallergenic formulas.
Year Problem Product Class
1994 Klebsiella and pseudomona contaminants Nursoy concentrate (Wyeth Labs) II
1993 Salmonella contamination Soyalac (Nutricia Inc.) I
1993 Glass contamination Nutramigen (Mead Johnson) II
1993 Peeling can lining Isomil Soy Formula with iron (Ross Labs) III
1990 Bacterial contamination I-Soylac Concentrated Formula (Loma Linda) I
1989 Deficient in vitamin D, below label claim for vitamin K Similac PM60/40 low iron (Ross Labs) III
1989 Unfit appearance, didn't pass through bottle nipple Carnation Good Nature (Nestlé) III
1989 Deficient in vitamin D Nutramigen iron fortified protein hydrolysate III
1986 Progressive vitamin A degradation Soyalac powder (Loma Linda) III
1986 Curdling, discoloration SMA Ready to Feed (Wyeth Labs) II
1985 Superpotent vitamin A levels Gerber Meat Base Formula with iron (Gerber) II
1985 Deficient in folacin, vitamin D and zinc Kama-Mil powder (Kama Nutritional Products) I
1985 Pamphlet erroneously suggests can be used as substitute for human milk Edensoy (Eden Foods) I
1985 Deficient in copper and linoleic acid Cow & Gate Improved Modified Infant Formula II
1985 Deficient in copper and linoleic acid Lactogen with iron (Nestlé) III
1985 Glass particles (from bottle chipping) 5% glucose water (Ross Labs) II
1985 Overprocessed, lumpy, brown, unfit for human consumption Similac with iron (Ross Labs) II
1983 Deficient in vitamin A Soyalac Powder Milk Free Fortified Soy Formula II
1983 Copper, thiamine and vitamin B6 too low Naturalac Infant formula (Filmore Foods) II
1982 Deficient in vitamin B6 Nursoy Concentrated Liquid (Wyeth Laboratores) I
1982 Deficient in vitamin B6 SMA brands (Wyeth Labs) I

Class I: May cause serious health consequences.
Class II: May cause medically reversible health conditions.
Class III: Not likely to cause medically adverse health effects.

Adopted from Milk, Money and Madness 1995

One trick of the formula makers is to exaggerate the problem of iron deficiency. Mother's milk is very low in iron and the formula makers have seized on this fact to promote iron-fortified formula as an improvement on Mother Nature. Of the studies examining the evidence for iron supplementation of infants, 77% were industry-funded. Infants on this formula get 22 times as much iron as breastfed infants and risk contracting iron storage disease, but this appears irrelevant to researchers. Iron-fortified formula is more expensive than no-iron formula and presumably more profitable.

Actually, mother's milk is low in iron for at least two reasons. Low iron levels in human milk contribute to its antiviral effects. Iron also competes with zinc for absorption and the human infant needs a plentiful supply of zinc for the development of his brain and nervous system. In traditional societies, parents compensated for this in two ways. First, they allowed the umbilical cord blood to flow into the infant before cutting or tying the cord. This gave the infant an infusion of iron-rich blood without going through the digestive process. Then, at the age of about 4-6 months, baby was given his first food, usually iron-rich liver, which the mother had thoughtfully prechewed.

Iron-fortified formula can cause constipation and zinc blockage and should never be used. Modern parents should insist that their baby gets his cord blood, and then should supplement his diet with a little grated liver along with egg-yolk feeding at the age of four months. Of course, mothers should get plenty of iron-rich foods while nursing, to replenish iron stores lost during childbirth and to prevent anemia. In some cultures, the placenta was cooked in a stew and served to the mother for this very purpose.

47.5 At the World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva in May 1994, the United States reversed its lone opposition to the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes. The Code was adopted by international consensus. Here is a summary of what was gained:

1. In theory, the United States is now in support of the Code. The door is open at last for the United States to do what the Code calls for: "To take action appropriate to the social and legislative framework and overall development objectives to give effect to the principles and aim of this Code, including the enactment of legislation, regulations or other suitable measures."
2. WHA Resolution 47.5 clarifies Resolution 39.28 (passed in 1986) and affirms that all products under the scope of the Code, not just infant formula, are not to be provided for free or at subsidized cost. It states that this is intended for the whole health care system, not just maternity wards and maternity hospitals. This language closes significant loopholes claimed by the industry.
3. WHA 47.5 also corroborated the position of the health care community that most babies need no other food than breastmilk until the age of about six months and also emphasizes the need for local foods—not expensive, imported, processed foods or follow-up milks—and continued breastfeeding.

About the Author

Naomi Baumslag, MD, MPH is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Georgetown University Medical School, and President, Women's International Public Health Network, Bethesda, MD.

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