July 5, 2012
The best interests of humanity were long ago abandoned by corporate giants in favor of the almighty dollar. But would companies really make false promises and put babies on the line to boost their bottom line? Well, yes, they would. Baby formula manufacturers first started putting synthetic fatty acids called DHA and ARA in formula about a decade ago. Despite complaints over the years and questionable marketing practices by the companies, these DHA/ARA-enhanced formulas remain on the market today.
DHA/ARA-Enhanced Baby Formula
DHA and ARA are long-chain fatty acids that are naturally present in human breast milk. However, the DHA and ARA in baby formula is synthetic – not natural. Instead, they are produced by a company called Martek Biosciences Corp. They are made in a lab with algae and fungus, and then extracted with hexane, a neurotoxin.
Since the DHA/ARA formulas began showing up on shelves, the FDA has been flooded with complaints from consumers. Letter after letter found parents dealing with sick and unhappy babies – babies who did a complete 180-degree turnaround when taken off the formula.
Initially, according to this AlterNet report, the FDA alerted Martek that they would be convening a group of scientists to look into concerns about the synthetic DHA and ARA. But Martek responded, telling the FDA that such research would “not be productive.” For whatever reason, the FDA agreed and didn’t look any further at the formula additive.
Many formulas have used these synthetic substances and have been called out for calling their products “The Breast Milk Formula,” and suggesting theirs was even better than the breast.
Prior to the additives being placed in bottles, Martek marketed them to companies saying:
Even if [the DHA/ARA blend] has no benefit, we think it would be widely incorporated into formulas as a marketing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as “closest to human milk.”
And there it is– the recognition that a substance may or may not be useful, the seeming disregard of any potential risks, all for the admitted marketing tool and the money that it would bring in.
This detailed report from Cornucopia.org shows that upset tummies and fussy attitudes might not be the only negative mark of DHA/ARA infused formula. They reveal that in Martek’s own studies, lab rats showed a “significant increase in relative liver weights.” And this is from the manufacturer’s studies. Imagine what an impartial study might find.