Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
In the wake of multiple recalls of infant formula in recent years, the federal government has finalized standards that will require manufacturers to test their products for nutritional content as well as possible exposure to germs and bacteria. Earlier this year the new guidelines were announced; they are based on two years’ worth of research, during which time Gerber voluntarily recalled some formula because of a strange odor, and some brands of organic formula were found to contain high levels of inorganic arsenic.
More from Reuters on the finalization and what it means for formula manufacturers–and parents:
While public health officials generally say breast milk is best for babies, they acknowledge that many infants get some or part of their nutrition through formula. The new rule, FDA said, is aimed at establishing so-called “good manufacturing practices” that many companies have already adopted voluntarily.
It also only applies to formula marketed for “for use by healthy infants without unusual medical or dietary problems,” FDA said in a statement.
Under the regulation, companies must screen formula for salmonella, which can cause diarrhea and fever resulting in particularly severe problems for babies. They must also check for cronobacter, known to live in dry conditions such as powdered formula and cause swelling of the brain known as meningitis in infants.
While the FDA does not approve infant formula products before they can be sold, under the rule companies must also test their products’ nutrient content and show that their formulas can “support normal physical growth,” the agency said.
Image: Baby having a bottle, via Shutterstock
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Child Health, Parenting News, Safety
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
A semi-soft, Hispanic-style cheese has apparently sickened a number of babies in Maryland and California, and one baby has died from what officials believe is listeria contamination. Listeria is a bacteria that is most dangerous to young children and pregnant women. The Associated Press has more:
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the death occurred in California. Seven additional illnesses were reported in Maryland.
All of the Maryland victims reported eating soft or semi-soft Hispanic-style cheese that they purchased at different locations of the same grocery store chain. Listeria was later detected in a sample of Caujada en Terron, or fresh cheese curd, purchased at that chain.
The CDC says three of the victims are newborns. Two of those ill are mothers of two of the ill newborns.
The agency says the cheese was probably produced by Roos Foods of Kenton, Del.
Monday, February 10th, 2014
The Food and Drug Administration has announced new guidelines meant to make sure infant formula is both safe and nutritious. The new guidelines are based on two years’ worth of research, during which time Gerber voluntarily recalled some formula because of a strange odor, and some brands of organic formula were found to contain high levels of inorganic arsenic. More on the FDA’s new rules from The Associated Press:
Most formula makers already abide by the practices, but the FDA now will have rules on the books that ensure formula manufacturers test their products for salmonella and other pathogens before distribution. The rules also require formula companies to prove to the FDA that they are including specific nutrients — proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals — in their products.
It is already law that formula must include those nutrients, which help babies stay healthy. But the new rules will help the FDA keep tabs on companies to make sure they are following the law. The rule would require manufacturers to provide data to the FDA proving that their formulas support normal physical growth and that ingredients are of sufficient quality.
“The FDA sets high quality standards for infant formulas because nutritional deficiencies during this critical time of development can have a significant impact on a child’s long-term health and well-being,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, said.
The rules also are aimed at new companies that come into the market. In recent years, grocery store aisles have become even more crowded with new kinds of formula, some capitalizing on natural or organic food trends.
The agency said breastfeeding is strongly recommended for newborns but that 25 percent of infants start out using formula. By three months, two-thirds of infants rely on formula for all or part of their nutrition.
The FDA doesn’t approve formulas before they are marketed but formula manufacturers must register with the agency. The FDA also conducts annual inspections of facilities that manufacture infant formula — far more often than the agency does inspections of other food facilities.
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Image: Infant formula, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Raw milk–milk that has not been pasteurized–may carry serious health risks and should be avoided by pregnant women, infants and children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is saying in a new policy statement. More from The New York Times:
Although the sale of unpasteurized milk products is legal in 30 states, the academy says that the evidence of the benefits of pasteurization to food safety is overwhelming, and that the benefits of any elements in raw milk that are inactivated by pasteurization have not been scientifically demonstrated.
The report, published Monday in Pediatrics, notes that many species of harmful bacteria have been found in unpasteurized milk products, including Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Cryptosporidium, among others.
In a study published last week in Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers estimated that over the past 10 years in Minnesota, where raw milk is legally sold, more than 17 percent of those who consumed it became ill.
“There are no proven nutritional advantages of raw milk,” said a lead author, Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, the chief of neonatology at Georgia Regent University in Augusta. “Further, raw milk and milk products account for a significant proportion of food borne illnesses in Americans. There is no reason to risk consuming raw milk.”
The AAP also advises avoiding raw milk cheeses for the same reasons.
Image: Cow, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Amid reports that a growing number of kids are showing up at emergency rooms with gastritis, an irritation of the stomach lining, health officials are warning parents that super spicy foods including chips and crackers may not be safe for kids. More from ABC News:
Dr. Martha Rivera, a pediatrician at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, said she sees between five and six cases of children with gastritis daily.
“We have a population who loves to eat the hot spicy, not real foods, and they come in with these real complaints,” Rivera told KABC-TV.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said he believes that the flavoring coating the chips and snacks is what might be causing the stomach pH to change, rather than just the spiciness of the snacks. For example, he said he hasn’t had a lot of people coming in doubled over from eating too much spicy salsa.
“In the past, I had not seen any problems with snack food until spicy flavoring became more popular,” said Glatter.
Glatter said it wasn’t just the high fat or high salt content that the kids or adolescents crave but the actual burn of the spicy flavoring.
“It’s almost like a food addiction. They seek out the burn,” said Glatter. “It’s a little thrill-seeking. ‘It’s like how much can I tolerate?’ and I’ve seen a number of children who eat four or five bags and come in screaming in pain.”
Image: Spicy snacks, via Shutterstock
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