Posts Tagged ‘
infant formula ’
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
A cow named “Daisy,” who was genetically engineered to produce a hypoallergenic milk, has apparently succeeded in giving milk that is absent a protein called β-lactoglobulin, which causes allergies mainly in infants. From LiveScience, via MSNBC.com:
“Since the protein is not produced in human milk, it’s not surprising that this protein may be recognized as a foreign protein in infants and cause allergies,” study author and scientist at AgResearch in New Zealand Stefan Wagner told LiveScience.
Studies show that about 1 in 12 infants develops an allergic response to whey, but most infants are able to outgrow their allergy.
For decades, food manufacturers have broken up whey protein, a mix of about 10 proteins including β-lactoglobulin, in milk products through a process called hydrolysis in an effort to decrease its allergenicity.
“Infant formula uses hydrolyzed milk, which is supposed to be much less allergenic, but there is still residual risk to exposure of allergies,” Wagner said.
Some outside researchers expressed concern because while the milk produced by Daisy does show much less β-lactoglobulin, it held more of a non-whey protein called casein, which is also responsible for allergies. “We wouldn’t think that this has any relevance to milk allergy; whey protein is one of many, many proteins that people can be allergic to,” said Robert Wood, allergy and immunology chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, who was not involved in the new research.
Image: Cow, via Shutterstock
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Friday, August 3rd, 2012
In the wake of an announcement by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that infant formula will have to be “signed out” in the same way that medication is has led to an outcry among parents who say the stance is punishing to those who cannot or do not wish to breastfeed. The initiative is intended to encourage more women to breastfeed their babies, city officials maintain. Reuters reports:
State health commissioners announced on Tuesday that letters highlighting the importance of breastfeeding were being sent to hospitals, reminding them of regulations limiting unnecessary formula feedings for breastfed newborns.
The state initiative coincides with Bloomberg’s call for hospitals to lock away their baby formula and have nurses encourage new mothers to breastfeed.
Under the mayor’s plan, slated to start September 3, the city will keep a record of the number of bottles that hospitals stock and use. Formula would be signed out like medication.
The pro-breastfeeding campaign has drawn the ire of some women who argue it stigmatizes infant formula and interferes with a mother’s choice of what to feed her child.
A number of the city’s other health initiatives — including cracking down on large-sized sodas and banning smoking in public places — have attracted similar criticism from those who accuse the mayor of creating a “nanny” state.
Image: Infant bottles, via Shutterstock
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Friday, July 13th, 2012
Massachusetts has joined Rhode Island in prohibiting maternity hospitals from distributing “gift bags” containing samples of infant formula to new mothers, in a move that proponents of breastfeeding applaud as sending the message that breastfeeding is the best, healthiest way to feed newborns. The state’s 49 hospitals are banning the practice voluntarily, according to The Boston Globe:
“We applaud the effort of all of the hospitals to make this explicit statement of their support of breast-feeding here in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Lauren Smith, the public health department’s medical director.
Back in 2005, Massachusetts tried to end the free formula practice with a statewide ban instituted by the Public Health Council, but that decision was overturned several months later when then-Governor Mitt Romney replaced council members who were in favor of the ban.
More than a dozen studies have shown that breast-feeding mothers who received free formula samples after they left the hospital were less likely to be breast-feeding by the time their infant was one month old. “Using formula without a medical reason is one of the biggest predictors of breast-feeding failure,” said Dr. Melissa Bartick, chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.
But infant formula makers responded that formula giveaways have been inappropriately blamed for women opting out of nursing because it’s, for example, to difficult to maintain when they head back to work. “Some critics of formula samples claim research has ‘consistently shown’ that samples in discharge kits negatively affect duration of breastfeeding,” the International Formula Council, an industry group, said in a statement. “In fact, the research results have not been consistent. Some studies show an effect, while others do not.”
Image: Baby bottle, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, April 27th, 2012
Infant formula may cost money, but breastfeeding is hardly “free,” according to a new study by researchers at the University of Iowa.
The study found that formula-feeders (i.e., mothers who never breastfed), short-duration breastfeeders (i.e., mothers who breastfed for fewer than six months), and long-duration breastfeeders (i.e., mothers who breastfed for six months or longer) all experienced earnings losses after giving birth. However, on average, long-duration breastfeeders experienced much steeper and more prolonged earnings losses than did mothers who breastfed for shorter durations or not at all.
“When people say breastfeeding is free, I think their perspective is that one doesn’t have to buy anything to breastfeed whereas one needs to purchase formula and bottles to formula-feed,” sociologist Phyllis L. F. Rippeyoung said in a press release.
Mary C. Noonan, the study’s co-author, added, “Breastfeeding for six months or longer is only free if a mother’s time is worth absolutely nothing.”
Image: Breastfeeding mother, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, April 2nd, 2012
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Friday that it will not ban the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from food packaging–including infant formula packages–even though the agency agrees the substance needs to be studied more carefully for potential health risks.
The FDA’s BPA policy statement was updated to say that in response to a 2008 petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the agency is taking “reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply,” but that it will stop short of banning its use altogether. “FDA is not recommending that families change the use of infant formula or foods, as the benefit of a stable source of good nutrition outweighs the potential risk from BPA exposure,” the policy states.
Health risks associated with BPA include negative effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.
Health policy experts are disappointed, if not dismayed, at the decision. Jeanne Rizzo, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, responded in a strongly-worded statement, “Scientists, consumers, retailers, manufacturers and the states are sending clear signals that BPA doesn’t belong in our food packaging and that investment in safe alternatives is an investment in the health of the American public. Now the FDA needs to catch up. Inaction is not acceptable.”
Two weeks ago, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey submitted his own petition for a BPA ban, arguing that it is a obsolete material that is not necessary, especially given the health risks.
Image: Canned foods, via Shutterstock.
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