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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FDA, food safety, formula, formula guidelines, formula recall, government standards, guidelines, infant feeding, infant formula | Categories:
Child Health, Parenting News, Safety
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
Chinese researchers are apparently working on developing a synthetic breast milk based on the actual chemical makeup of real human breast milk, as Newser reports:
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China’s government is spending $1.6 million to make its own breast milk. The goal is an artificial version of the milk of Chinese moms—a project that involves studying the real stuff to develop what China Daily calls a “breast milk database.”
Existing baby formula in the country adheres to World Health Organization ingredient standards, but it might not be quite right for China’s infant population, Chinese researchers have said.
China is the world’s biggest baby formula market, with parents spending $15 billion on it last year, Quartz notes. As of last year, only 28% of infants in the country were breastfed, compared to 40% globally, per a Wall Street Journal report. The new effort follows a formula crisis in 2008 that saw thousands of babies poisoned.
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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Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Personality traits, including a proclivity for anxiety or social extroversion, have been found to correlate with a mother’s choice to feed her baby by bottle or breast. LiveScience.com has more on the study, which was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing:
Dr. Amy Brown, who studies early nutrition at Swansea University in Wales, surveyed 602 mothers of infants ages 6 to 12 months, to see if personality traits were linked to breast-feeding rates. The women in the study ranged in age from 16 to 45 years old, and spanned a spectrum of income, education and professional achievement levels.
Brown found extroverted, conscientious and emotionally stable mothers were more likely to try breast-feeding. But being agreeable or open to new experiences made no difference, according to the findings published Tuesday (Aug. 6) in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
More than 80 percent of the women in the study tried to breast-feed, but less than half who tried were still breast-feeding six months later. And women who switched from breast to bottle tended to switch quickly. About 73 percent of the women who stopped breast-feeding did so within two weeks after giving birth.
Women who were conscientious — for example, detailed-oriented and punctual — were likely to start, but also likely to stop breast-feeding.
Mothers who kept breast-feeding during the first six months were more extroverted and less anxious than mothers who always bottle-fed or switched to the bottle. The effect was particularly strong within the first six weeks after birth.
Image: Mother bottle-feeding her baby, via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 21st, 2013
In a move Venezuelan legislators hope will encourage women to breastfeed their babies, the Congress of that country is considering legislation that would prohibit the use of baby bottles and the sale of infant formula. More from Reuters:
Legislator Odalis Monzon said the proposal would “prohibit all types of baby bottles” as a way to improve children’s health.
“We want to increase the love (between mother and child) because this has been lost as a result of these transnational companies selling formula,” Monzon said on state television on Thursday.
She said the Law for the Promotion and Support for Breast-Feeding, passed in 2007, did not establish any sanctions for using formula. However, she did not say what the sanctions might be if the proposed change to prohibit bottle feeding is passed by Congress, where the Socialist Party has a majority.
Monzon said, however, that exceptions would be allowed, such as in the case of the death of a mother, or for women with limited breast milk production, as determined by the health ministry.
She did not respond to phone calls seeking details, including how long babies would be breast-fed.
Such legislation would likely raise the ire of opposition sympathizers who say the government of the late President Hugo Chavez excessively extended the reach of the state into the lives of private citizens.
“People are free to feed their children as they see fit,” said Ingrid Rivero, a 27-year-old mother in Caracas. “My daughter stopped breast feeding after seven months. What can I do? Force her?”
Image: Baby bottle, via Shutterstock
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