Friday, April 30, 2010


Consumers pay through their nose for organic foods under the impression that these foods do not contain any man made ingredients, every thing being natural. But the blatant manner in which infant foods containing nutrients isolated, probably from fish, were allowed to be marketed under organic food banner is scandalous. In their quest for increasing profits, food industry is accused of indulging in many unfair manufacturing practices often injurious to the consumer. After allowing these mislabeled products to be sold in the market for quite some time, the authorities are waking up to the reality and under the new administration in the US the practice has been banned.

"The Obama administration announced Tuesday that two synthetic additives will no longer be permitted in infant formula or baby foods certified as organic because the widely used ingredients have not received legal approval for use in organic products. The additives -- omega-3 fatty acid DHA and omega-6 fatty acid ARA -- are present in 90 percent of organic infant formulas and are marketed as promoting brain and eye development in ways that mimic breast milk. The Washington Post reported last July that U.S. Department of Agriculture employees had concluded three years earlier that the fatty acids violated federal standards and should be banned from products carrying the federal organic label. Their findings were overruled by a USDA program manager who had been heavily lobbied by the formula industry".

While inclusion of DHA and ARA in infant foods helps to boost their nutritive value, making it comparable to breast milk, what is objectionable is to brand them as organic. Extraction of DHA/ARA involves use of Hexane as the solvent and the final purified product will invariably contain traces of this carcinogenic chemical. Feeding infants with such products cannot be condoned under any circumstances and the belated ban deserves to be applauded.


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