Food safety

So I don't know what to make of the tainted formula. Aside from the fact that it makes me really, really !@#$%ing angry. As angry as I was back a few years ago when they discovered that most women had enough jet fuel in our systems that our breastmilk had trace amounts of jet fuel in it. (I can't find a decent link for that old story. If anyone has one handy, please link it in the comments.)

What I do know is that if anyone uses this melamine thing as an excuse to make anyone feel bad about feeding their baby formula, that's going to break my heart in addition to pissing me off. The bottom line is that we should be able to feed our children foods that are safe. And we can't. Not if we nurse, not if we feed formula. And we can't trust the government to keep us safe, either. (Sorry, FDA, but if you can't figure out a "safe level" of melamine for infant formula, then don't patronize us by telling us it's probably OK.)

It would be one thing if we had control over it, and were just mindlessly pumping our kids full of Diet Coke. But when even breastmilk isn't completely uncontaminated, what can we do?

Add to the list the lack of safety of fish, factory farmed-meats and poultry, dairy contamination, genetically-modified vegetables and grains (nightmares for people with allergies) and it's a big unsafe soup.

Are you guys feeling as mistrustful and defeated as I am? It's starting to feel like a diet of non-stop Lunchables is just a different kind of unsafe from whole foods, since we can't guarantee the safety of the whole foods.

Tell me what you're thinking.

91 thoughts on “Food safety”

  1. I am right there with you Moxie. I am beyond frustrated that I spend extra money to buy hormone free, organic milk and eggs. But I can’t afford the hormone free and organic meats…so I suck it up and by the “cheap stuff” which I’m convinced will cause my daughter to go through puberty by age 5.When you start reading about pesticides and hormones and formaldyhyde that they use to produce/preserve food, it truly makes me ill! How are we supposed to trust anything unless we grew it or raised it ourselves? Even then, the water, soil and air we use to create the food is probably contaminated too.
    Not to sound pessimistic, but clearly the government is not looking out for our well-being, and we can only do as much as we can with the information we can gather…so what is a responsible parent supposed to do?
    Oh, and with the formula thing – the FDA is now saying their regulations are much higher than those in China, so none of that tainted formula is here. Yeah, I don’t buy that for a second.

  2. I think that “safe” is a sliding scale and not an absolute under any circumstances. It makes me think about how ‘safe’ people were being by using antibacterial everything and how that ended up being more about marketing than actual protection {disclaimer = there are absolutely legititmate concerns about bacterica for certain people and/or situations}.I would like my breastmilk to be perfect in every way, I would like my formula to be perfect in every way but perfectly clean foods don’t exist for me or for JC.
    I think that the melamine stuff is most concerning in the fact that the FDA is not forthcoming in what it does and doesn’t know and understand about the perception of safe levels.
    Summary. It makes me sad, a little concerned, and more aware that the whole thing is a crap shoot. Moxie talks about how we do the best we can everyday, and I think that in general companies do the best they can too – it is just that their priorities are not exactly the same as ours.

  3. I am royally pissed off by all the scandals going on now in the kosher meat industry. I don’t have a lot of alternative options. Regular kosher food is expensive; kosher organics are even more, but can you even trust the people/orgs giving the organic certification (or the kosher certification, for that matter–oftentimes I think it’s about 90% politics/graft and 10% kashrut).Part of me would love to live in the country and eat food that neighbors and I grow. Not going to happen.
    Part of me would love to make my family eat less processed foods and more organics, etc. But the costs, both in terms of money and time, can seem overwhelming. I push fruit and vegetables for snack, but what do you do with a child who eschews 2/3 of protein sources (fish, cheese, beans, eggs, meat)? You feed them what they like, in as healthy a form as you can (plain tofu, baked chicken, roasted turkey).
    Clearly I am suspicious because I don’t think anyone has our health (vs profits) as their priority. But I don’t know what I can do about it; people around here want to eat six times a day.

  4. On the melamine issue, I find it interesting no one is also asking whether the protein levels are still accurate in the brands that had trace amounts. It is scary, especially when babies have been sick and/or died.For general food safety – I’m torn. On the one hand, I spend a fair amount of time, money, and energy trying to manage our diet – buying organic when I can, making sure we are mostly eating “food” and not “products.” Ever since I read Fast Food Nation I’ve been aware that the way meat is processed – hundreds of cows in one burger, and in disgusting ways – is a huge big deal. So is the packaged spinach.
    So we have gradually tried to lessen our use of that kind of food. But it’s not easy. We don’t produce our own food, so we’re dependent on the chain.
    On the other hand, I do think our standards of 100% safety expectations are not entirely realistic. Bacteria grows in food, and we eat food, and I’m not sure it’s possible to eradicate entirely.
    Something like the melamine bothers me a lot because it wouldn’t otherwise be there, but something like the listeria outbreak we had here in Canada – not helped by the regulatory environment, but also listeria is incredibly hard to contain – seems like something that despite best efforts will happen from time to time. We don’t eat a lot of deli meat but listeria lives in cheese and we definitely eat that.
    Anyways – complicated.

  5. How about the BPA that lines cans of liquid formula? Who decided that would be a good idea? We had to formula-feed our son, and thank goodness he was OK with the powdered kind, but some babies won’t take that. Of course, we did feed him from bottles with BPA in them before all the information came out about its effects. I was furious because I actually did research to find out of BPA was safe and the FDA told me it was.I don’t expect to be able to trust corporations, but I do expect my government and its regulatory agencies to protect me and my vulnerable children from dangerous things. For too long the attitude has been, we’re not sure if it’s harmful so we’ll assume it’s ok until we see harmful effects. I think we need to switch to an attitude of, anything we eat and any product that’s meant for children needs to be proven safe before we allow it to be sold. That would be a major shift, but I think a necessary one.

  6. I think we just have to do our best and trust our bodies. A few years ago I was eating vegetarian and trying to follow all the dietary recommendations I could find, and being a giant stressball. Then I realized that the stressing out over what I was eating was probably worse for me than the foods I was avoiding, especially because anything I avoided seemed to wind up on the next list of “best things for you”.So now I just do my best. I try really hard to figure out what foods make me feel good, and what foods don’t. I found a local farm that delivers organic grass-fed beef for only slightly more than I’d pay at the grocery store and that makes me feel awesome (extra iron in my diet, supporting local business, helping the environment).
    Outside of allergies, our bodies tend to be really resilient, and if you’re eating a variety of things, and not going overboard on any one particular thing, you’re probably doing just fine. Because Lunchables every day is terrible, but once in a while as a “treat” probably lets you realize just how much they suck as a lunch option.
    But yeah, I think it is way too easy to get tied in a knot over the latest food warnings and recommendations, and the only way I can avoid that is by deliberately deciding not to worry.

  7. Perchlorate (rocket fuel) in human milk is addressed on this Kellymom page:
    Here is a New Scientist article on the topic as well:
    Snip from a letter by the author of the study (whole thing’s at the Kellymom link above): “First, I would like to assure you that even in my wildest imagination it did not cross my mind to advise someone to stop breast feeding just because perchlorate is detectable in breast milk. There are so many physiologic and psychological benefits of breast feeding, I truly regret if our paper has caused any one to stop breast feeding even for a day.”

  8. I’ve been waiting for this to happen since the pet food contamination crisis. I am appalled that the FDA would even try to figure out a safe level of an industrial chemical for infant formula rather than make it clear that melamine or cyanuric acid in human or animal food in any amount is unacceptable. If there are “trace” amounts due to cleaning chemicals being used in the factories, then perhaps they need to find better ways of cleaning the machines. But I don’t buy that one bit – I think it has everything in the world to do with what the animals in our food chain are being fed, all in the name of bigger, better, faster.Food safety reform should be a top priority for our government. And we shouldn’t be taking this BS sitting down.

  9. It seems overwhelming. In particular the melamine formula crisis(to say nothing of the BPA poisoning, lead-paint-on-toys crisis, or even the teflon-coated-pan crisis)strikes a raw nerve with me. I don’t trust industry or the government to really catch the problems…and that is deeply troubling.On the other hand, there is a LOT to worry about in this world, and I, for one, do not have a bunch of extra money to spend on the natural/Organic/”hormone free” (ummm…not that there is any test for that in milk, I think- but could be wrong). So…our approach is a middle-of-the-road one, doing what we can.

  10. Exactly, Michelle G. With each new crisis we have to decide, 1. Does this seem like a real problem in general? 2. Do we use enough of this product that we should be worried? 3. Is the amount of harm that we think comes from using this product outweighed by the inconvenience of changing what we’re doing?Most of the time, unfortunately, the answers are yes. It makes me tired. And mad. I have enough to do without worrying about this stuff.

  11. the whole thing makes me sad and frustrated. I was thinking of weaning soon (little S is 8 months) but now am committed to making it through the year. I am just thankful that I have that option, as BFing is going well this time around. However we have been occasionally supplementing with a bottle here or there of formula and that will probably slow down or stop – she doesn’t seem to need it much now that she is happily munching finger does just underscore to me how important it is to eat local if at all possible – we belong to a meat CSA, and while that doesn’t provide all of our meat, it is a decent %age of it, and while not officially “organic”, it is grass-fed, local, and sustainable. Next year I am going to try to do an all Farmer’s market season – no veggies/fruit from the regular market. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects our food bill.
    @Kate, my parents were kosher caterers, and there is SO much politics in there for the kosher certifications (eg broccoli is only kosher if you buy it from my supplier where I get a kick-back), I personally feel like while the rules are being observed, there is a TON of nonsense, and I’d prefer to keep “ethically” kosher (eg meat CSA, but no pork from said meat CSA) than the letter of the law. But I am a reform Jew, so YMMV.
    @Shandra, as a biologist, I agree with you completely on the bacteria. However, as you said, manufacturing process, and adding toxic compounds, is an entirely different story.

  12. My recommendation is to avoid reading “Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood” by Sandra Steingraber during the first trimester unless you want to really freak yourself out.

  13. We think we’re doing whatever we can to keep our kids (and ourselves) safe. And then we find out that our best? It’s not doing enough. Unless we all decide to form a commune where we raise and grow our own food, (hey now, that’s not a bad idea :), then we are stuck with what the profit grubbing, corrupt, money obsessing government and corporate world. They do whatever they can to figure out the bare minimum, and then just wait until some grassroots movement pulls somethng to the headlines that is unsafe and then they drag their feet to make a change.BPA is a prime example.
    Bullocks to that.
    I can’t even begin to describe how riled up this gets me.
    Worse still are the poor kids whose parents aren’t trying to make any good choices and are setting their kids up for health issues in the future. And that’s partly because no one is educating those people that there are things out there on the market that just aren’t good for anyone. I know there are some naive parents out there who assume that FDA approved means that it’s fine.
    That infuriates me.

  14. Are we not mad at ourselves for trusting in companies who’s sole reason for being is to make money from us (and formula being a most insidious money maker as it seeks to capitalize on a combination of under-informed consumers and the misfortunes of those unable to nurse)?Honestly, if you drank Coke every day of your life and then a study came out and said that drinking Coke could lead to obesity, brittle bones, dental problems… would you be mad at Coke or yourself for making the choice to ingest the stuff?
    There is a LOT of scientific and historical evidence showing that formula is a suspect infant nutrition that should only be used as a last resort as it is an inferior food source. Are parents not responsible for choosing to use formula? Are those parents really surprised that their industrially produced food stuff is contaminated with industrial pollutants?
    I find this kind of “oh my goodness, look at how we’re being duped” reaction to be fantastically naiive and it exhausts me.
    Perhaps a new approach is warranted. Perhaps we should be encouraging true informed consent. Perhaps we should be making sure that the normal way humans are created, born and nurtured is promoted and supported and leave the deviations for the emergencies. Perhaps, if we are going to make choices that deviate from the biological norm then we agree to accept that this comes with loads of consequences, most of which we do not fully understand.

  15. The baby is turning 1 soon and she has been formula fed her whole life. I was dismayed to see the article about melamine in American infant formula on Yahoo. I figured out who El’s formula manufacturer is and kept reading until I found the level for her brand. It was measured in PPB. I think it was less than 1 PPB. The article I read also mentioned that melamine is found in all food. So chances are, breastmilk will have it too, probably in similar percentages.I was concerned by the logic in the statements by the FDA and how misleading they were – They said one thing (There is no safe level), we heard it as something (no melamine is acceptable whatsoever), they meant it as something else (we haven’t defined a ceiling yet.) They have, however, defined ceilings for bug bodies in many foods. I want to know how they could possibly define a meaningful ceiling anyway? You can’t do load testing.
    I’m serving my daughter formula with trace amounts of melamine, in bottles that have BPA (they are from my older daughter). If that is the worst decision I have to make for her, then I think I can live with it.
    She rides in a rear-facing car seat. Her care providers have finger prints on file. We haven’t let teenagers baby sit her. Her crib has slats spaced in such a way that she can not get wedged in between them.
    We do the best we can with what we have.
    The food system is not perfect. I don’t think it ever will be, and I don’t think it matters if it’s a free market system or not.
    I think that some kids are better able to handle the contaminants (e.g. things that are not food in our food, whether they are bugs, heavy metals or whatever) than others. I think that it’s hard to tell how well yours will do until it’s too late. This, I think, is going to be regrettable down the road.

  16. What Jen said @10:39am.I also want to support everyone out there like myself who has ever had to feed their baby formula. Contrary to what some dogmatic, black & white thinkers would have you believe, NOT ALL formula is “contaminated” and NOT ALL breastmilk is “perfect.”

  17. To me, it is bigger than a food safety issue. It is a product safety issue, and it seems to have exploded this year. BPA in baby bottles, toys with lead paint, melamine in formula, where does it end?Here in France, we recently had a case of shoes imported from China that were so over-treated with chemicals to prevent mildew that they caused burn-like skin reactions when worn. So today I found myself hesitating a long time before I bought my son new pajamas because the label said “Made in China.”
    I knew parenthood would involve plenty of worries, but I didn’t know this would be one of them.
    To me, the real problem is a lack of information. I ask myself too many questions I can’t answer: is this project safe for my son? Is it safe for the workers who produced it? Were unacceptable amounts of industrial waste produced when it was manufactured?
    We’re running up against a difficult truth, I’m afraid, that the market is not going to self-regulate its way to responsibility. Sure, consumer pressure has given us organic, fair-trade, etc., but to what extent can we trust those labels? And I am lucky enough to have the means to make a choice. What about all those consumers who can’t?
    Because what breaks my heart is not only that we no longer know what options are safe for our kids. It’s that my choices may have consequences on others that I can’t even begin to imagine.
    We should all be madder than hell. Not just because now we’ve found out that the formula on our supermarket shelves may not be safe, or the chemicals we’ve unwittingly absorbed in our bodies are passing into our breast milk. We should be madder than hell for the woman in China with the factory job that doesn’t even give her the choice to breastfeed, or the luxury to worry about more than the day-to-day survival of her family.
    Now that I’m a mother, I feel like I should be an advocate for my son’s generation, in France, in China, in the US, everywhere. But beyond being madder than hell about all this, I confess, I don’t know what to do.
    To me, our governments have to do something. But which governments, when the problem is global?

  18. @badmom, I don’t delete comments, unless they’re clear spam. But your comment is EXACTLY the kind of judgy misogyny I was hoping this announcement would not cause.Do you know anyone personally who could not physically nurse? Or for whom nursing was so difficult that it was causing PPD? I do, on both counts. Plenty of people (including my aunt, my best friend, and some of my great wonderful friends from the internet). And for you to indicate that it’s as simple as “making a choice” is both simplistic and hurtful.
    Yes, we all “made a choice” to have kids, inasmuch as we could. And we all “make a choice” in the way we feed them, given the constraints. We all “make a choice” about how long we stay home with them, given the constraints. But it’s the constraints that are the rub.
    Yes, breast is best. We know. It’s been proven again and again and again. It’s not possible for many of us for a variety of reasons. To continue to offer that as a solution for everything is fantastically naive and exhausts me.

  19. Uh oh–we’re not supposed to be pumping our kids full of Diet Coke?I find the melanine story scary and sad–between the possibly tainted formula I fed my kids after they were born and the possibly tainted heparin I injected myself with while I was pregnant, I wonder what damage has been done.

  20. YES on the mistrustful and defeated. The thing I just can’t get over is that the needs of industry are consistently placed above the needs of people (not to mention other living beings). Take the whole BPA thing. Okay, I get that it’s not going to make anyone die of cancer 10 seconds after they drink from a plastic cup, but what possible reason is there for keeping it in the chain of manufacture when there is a reasonable, scientific chance that it can do harm? Industry is quite good at coming up with new formulations to make a profit. I’m sure it can produce whatever it produces without BPA, melamine, and other toxic chemicals, you know, given a little incentive like the LAW.I’m also getting tired of repeated exposure to that “oh, you’re one of those” look. You know?

  21. I don’t know what to say about the tainted formula. I guess I’m already so mistrustful of large businesses and organziations that claim to have my best interests in mind (FDA or CFIA included) that I’m not surprised.What I really wanted to comment on was to encourage those who feel they can’t afford good and safe meat/veggies to check out farmers’ markets. There are several web sites out there that have lists of them. My husband and I raise beef (grass-fed, no GMOs, no growth hormones, etc.), and I know if someone came to us and said they couldn’t afford a lot but wanted something for their families, I would totally work with them to find something that we could all afford. I really think buying local as much as possible is the way to go. Knowing the people who I provide food for makes me feel quite accountable.
    @Serena – I would love to hear how the meat CSA worked. I spent most of this year buying/trading for my bread, fruit, and veggies from our farmers’ market, and I tried several things I wouldn’t normally have. I also have a decent size stash of blueberries in my freezer because I bought some every week and froze them.

  22. @badmom: “Perhaps we should be making sure that the normal way humans are created, born and nurtured is promoted and supported and leave the deviations for the emergencies.”Just what are those who are the deviations supposed to do? Shouldn’t formula be safe for our babies, even if we are, hopefully, rare deviations from breastfeeding? I’m sure I don’t have to go into the emergency cases that sometimes require babies receiving formula, but those babies deserve safe food too.

  23. As far as we know, my daughter spent the first 11 months of her life drinking Chinese formula and we don’t know which brand. We are currently waiting for the test results to come back to see if her kidneys have been damaged. At this point, I don’t know if I should be hoping that she was drinking regular cow milk or if we should be hoping she got the added nutrients in formula despite the contamination.Obviously, I find the Chinese story alarming but not at all surprising. Right now, China is like the wild west…or maybe more like the US was back in the days of Upton Sinclairs’ The Jungle. There is no regulation that is reliable on most things they produce.
    On the other hand, I feel very safe with most products we consume here in the US. Certainly, we aren’t yet preventing every chemical that can cause harm, but for the most part we can trust our food and water supply. In the grand scheme of the global marketplace, that is a pretty amazing thing.
    I just try to keep things in perspective. We can’t wrap ourselves and our children in bubble wrap and prevent every possible injury or contamination, but overall, we are probably going to be ok. We are certainly better off the many, many people in the world.
    I would be willing to bet that a Happy Meal is more dangerous to our children’s health than the tiny amount of melamine that was found in US formulas.

  24. @sarah 11:20Where in Ontario is your naturally raised beef farm and do you have any retail outlets in metro Toronto that sell your products?
    email me: pipersmom74_at_yahoo dot ca

  25. Essentially this is nothing new. I recall being told I was raised on soy formula because of the strontium. And I’m a good bit older than most of you. (Side note – did that lead to my health issues? Who knows. Perhaps. Of course, back then folks smoked when they were pregnant and were told not to gain more than 11 ounces during pregnancy 😉 I’m sure all of today’s guidelines will be overturned or modified in the future as well. )It’s a big ugly world and there are fantastic numbers of potential threats. When issues come to light, steps can be taken, but you know there will be more scares of different sorts in the future.

  26. I usually try to go read the original studies and base my decisions on those, not the often over-sensationalized media reports of the studies. For instance, the BPA thing is nowhere near as settled as some of the news reports will lead you to believe. After reading some of the papers in the scientific literature, I decided that it wasn’t worth worrying about right now and stuck with the bottles we had.I also don’t tend to think most corporations are trying to skate by doing the bare minimum. I’m sure some are, and that is why we need the FDA and should concern ourselves with how its authority is set up. But it is people making the decisions in the corporations (and in the FDA), and I think that in most cases they try to make the “right” decision given the information they have. When BPA was first included in the plastics formulations for bottles, there was no reason to think it was a problem and it gave the properties they were after from a final product standpoint (hard, resilient plastic, etc).
    I haven’t been following the melamine story that closely so I don’t have an opinion there.
    The person to read on food safety is Marion Nestle (no relation to the big food company). She has a book called “Food Safety” (or something like that) that gives an expert’s view on what portions of our system are broken. Reading that book was what put me on my personal crusade against feeding prophylactic antibiotics to food animals. And it made me angry about how we do beef in this country.

  27. I fed my twins formula from day 1. BFing didn’t work – could I have tried harder, yes, but I didn’t and yes, that’s a choice I made. That said, I know in my gut that I’m a good mom and I also know that I was a better mom those first 6 months because I was not pumping/BFing every waking moment with my twins. I was so over my head those first few months and if I had added that extra step in there I think it would have sent me over the edge. Yes, I know there are tons of twins mom that BF and it works for them. It didn’t work for my family and no, I didn’t force it to work for my family.If the govt is going to permit formula products to be sold, they should be required to make sure they are safe. Period. Complelety agree with the one poster that it should be from the stance of assume it isn’t healthy/safe until you prove it to be so rather than the other way around. I think in general the FDA has completely lost my trust given their lack of response to the whole BPA issue that’s come up and their response to the formula issue (my boys are way past formula at this point but I would have been freaking out if I had read their statement that no amount is safe but please keep feeding your child formula while we confirm that).

  28. I’m freaking angry too, Moxie. But I’m also glad that the horrible events in China have opened people’s eyes about international regulations.China has a lot of explaining to do. I would LOVE to take my son to see his cultural homeland (he’s 1/2 Chinese) but I’m too worried about the environment and the food there to even think about going. And the situation is just going to get worse.
    Yeah yeah… think I’m being a freaked-out-over-protective-parent on this one? I traveled close to the ground in India 12 years ago, got several intestinal parasites on my travels and still, to this day, my GI has never been the same (I’ll spare you all the details). The last thing I want is to expose my kid to some crap that he’ll be left paying for for the rest of his life too.
    My son was on formula from 5 months on after I agonized about trying to end his nursing strike. I didn’t sleep nights worrying that soy formula was going to mess up his endocrinological development or cause food allergies or…insert horrible effect here. It sucked. But I did what I had to do. The kid had to eat and he was allergic to cow’s milk protein and I could not get him back on the breast and my milk supply started to tank with no breastfeeding and even a top-of-the-line breast pump didn’t cut it (I’m starting to feel anxious & guilty just remembering those events) so I found some organic soy formula and paid ridiculous amounts of money for it (went without a lot of other stuff to do that). And I hoped for the best. It was all I had.
    I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and guilt if I learned that after all that agonizing, his formula had freaking melamine in it too.
    What to do about it…
    1)take responsibility for your own health. Don’t trust that any gov. is going to protect you. I know this sucks and i hate it too but, in the end, we are the best caretakers of ourselves.
    2) take calculated risks. Learn as much as you can before you make a decision.
    3) Make as much of your own food, and baby food, as you can.
    4) Avoid processed foods & buy organic from the source (if you can)
    5) do the best you can with what you’ve got and…
    6) Hope for the best.
    (7) And I don’t buy food from China any more.)
    None of these precautions is going to protect us and our children 100%. Life doesn’t offer those kinds of guarantees.
    @ Susan — re: orgo meat & $$. If you can find a local farm, you can buy directly from the source and save $$. If you have a freezer, or a friend with a freezer, you can go in on a 1/4 cow, a pig, etc.and the total cost is far cheaper. More $$ up front, but cheaper in the long run, adn better for the farmer. I’m buying local produce through a locally-run business that distributes local food (produce, dairy, meat, baked goods, etc.) once a week.
    It’s more expensive but we eat good food.
    Now, watch some report come out stating that organically-raised beef is high in some horrid toxin. Ah well. We did the best we could with the information we had at the time.

  29. Badmom states:There is a LOT of scientific and historical evidence showing that formula is a suspect infant nutrition that should only be used as a last resort as it is an inferior food source. Are parents not responsible for choosing to use formula? Are those parents really surprised that their industrially produced food stuff is contaminated with industrial pollutants?
    Thanks for making all of us formula feeders feel like we are the worst parents in the world. And, had I “chose” to breastfeed, my children would have died from starvation as I produced ZERO milk despite pumping 10 times per day, taking herbs, manually expressing, and just basically driving myself insane.

  30. why was this news story on page 13 of our newspaper? is this just so common now it is just another food story? i find that very scary. very telling?badmom must be super fortunate. wonder why she comes across so sad to me…

  31. It’s comforting to know that everyone else is as mad+confused+exhausted as I am. I especially agree with enu’s last paragraph.As a professional who studies groundwater contamination (including perchlorate) I know rationally that there are chemicals that are just out there in the air and water that we take in, and the issue is the dose. But I just can’t get my head around manufactured products where contamination is actually introduced by using a cheaper material or process. With every box of cereal, jar of food, etc I’m staring down the containers going “Who can I trust?” As if the little jars could talk back. A few more sleepless teething nights and they might, I guess:)
    Good luck to all. This is far from over I’m sure. Until the next thing.

  32. I am with you on that one, except that I don’t feel frustrated. I am mad as hell! I find that if I allow myself to get into the frustration or the downtrodden way, I become paralyzed. Anger propels me forward. Since I work as a nanny, there are a few ways that I can actually motivate the mothers in the park and such. And believe you me, I tend to not shut up. Which is why the kids with whom I work become very similar – lol.I am originally from Germany. And I find that food standards are sooooo much stricter in Germany than here. It isn’t because the companies are better – oh nooooo. It’s because the government has put up higher standards. Once these companies come over here, they relax their standards considerably. Take Electrolux, for example. In Sweden they have high high safety standards. The have a plant in St. Cloud, MN. There they can get away with all kinds of safety violations because our own government doesn’t protect us. OSHA call them one month ahead of time and tells them when they will inspect the plant. Enough time for them to make temporary changes so the inspection will go well. Come on!!!
    In this country, we have taken these lax standards for far too long. We have allowed ourselves to become dumbed down and forgotten that “We The People…” really means WE THE PEOPLE. We are the government. Our form of government is representative and they are supposed to represent us. Well, let your voices be heard. Boycott these companies. Buy products that are safe only, even if it means buying a few pairs of shoes less, or buying less coffee and drinking water.
    Don’t allow the companies to run the government with their lobbyists! Be active and get involved!
    End of sermon 😉

  33. @mo- in general, companies DO have to show a new food additive is safe before they can use it. But it is not possible to really prove safety, beyond any possible doubt. We don’t understand human biology well enough. It may be that we should require more testing or different testing, but all that testing comes with a cost. How much are you willing to pay for baby formula? For baby bottles? What should the people who can’t afford what you are willing to pay do? You have to let the companies that make these products make a profit, or no one will make them. It is a difficult problem, and I don’t think there are any easy answers.Also, new studies will be done as we learn more about human biology, and some of those studies will overturn our long held opinions about what is safe and what isn’t. One of the difficult things about trying to use science to guide you parenting is that scientific knowledge is always changing.

  34. gotta second the kosher complaints. we keep kosher and are on a limited budget. so I basically have to decide between my religious convictions and my desire to feed my family the healthiest food. guess which one wins out? so I do my best to feed my kids food and not packaged goods, and figure that even if all the ingredients aren’t organic, at least I’m making their meals from scratch.and as a side note, in regards to judgement and mothering and such, I have been on the recieving end, more than once, of drive by judgement because I don’t always go for organics (which is 100% financial for us) while these same women are loading up their carts with ‘organic’ chicken nuggets. Now, in the grand scee of things, chicken nuggets won’t kill you (I hope) and my kids do get them once in a blue moon. But please dont tell me that they are so much better for you than the chicken that I am making for my kids, truthfully, it’s probably a wash in terms of the details. I just think there has been such a huge push for organics, that the idea of ‘real’ food vs packaged, has been lost. yes, organics are more healthful in many ways, but packaged goods are packaged goods.
    finally, in terms of the formula. while I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding, I think it does no good, at all to dole out guilt with formula. that is not the way to increase numbers of breastfeeding mothers or to normalize breastfeeding as a biological norm. to do that, we need to fundaentally change the way parenting fits within the larger american social system (more time off for new moms, more support for families, less pressure to return to ‘real work’ that contributes to the GNP, etc.). if we should be judgemental it is towards the formula companies who have the ability to make changes with their products to benefit children, if they really cared (how quickly did most companies come out with an organic option? was it because they think it is better? no, but b/c they knew people would pay more for it.) these corporations owe it to our children to make a safe option at the expense of their bottom line.

  35. Great stuff here.Marion Nestle was mentioned upthread… anything by her is good & trustworthy. I read “What to eat” and it’s a handy reference tool. Also, anything by Michael Pollan (of the very famous “Omnivore’s dilemma” which I can tell you changed my life.) The fiction “My year of meats” by Ruth Ozeki is a great story that is also edifying & useful.
    Since reading Omnivore’s Dilemma I’ve drastically cut back on the amount of meat we consume–we eat meat, now, about once a week. I do buy it at the co-op or direct from the farmer.
    We (and I mean DH and me and also all of you) do the best we can. I feel the most for the kids and the parents of those kids in lesser-developed areas of the world that don’t have access to the information we have… or the options.

  36. This weekend my son, 15 mos, inadvertently had his first cookie at my mom’s, he ate it before I could react. I wasn’t happy but I managed. Later, my in-laws reacted as if there should be a celebration! Wow, he had his first cookie. Then they expressed dismay that he hadn’t eaten a french fry yet…what no french fries?I’m sharing this story to somehow say that for many people, the content of food is really not an issue. Junk food is good, the earlier the better, who cares about plastic…cook with it, eat from it, the more the better. I don’t understand the mind set but I think that that attitude has allowed government to look the other way as business just does what ever it can to make as big a profit as it can.
    I certainly feel that I am in the minority when it comes to healthy living. And it’s such a challenge to be healthy, it’s just so much easier & cheaper to just not question.

  37. @badmom, please go read Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s book “Mother Nature” ASAP–however much of an advocate of breastfeeding you may be, the first couple chapters will make you realize that formula is a godsend, the very best (and really only effective) substitute for mother’s milk we’ve ever come up with. The stories from before its existence are not pretty. Was it wrong for companies and doctors to push its use as always superior to breastfeeding? Sure, and it was unconscionable to do so in places without clean water. But you could also argue that we really should only use cars as a “last resort”–they’re much worse for us than walking, after all…and almost anybody CAN walk a few miles, it might be a lot of effort for some, but really, why use these dirty, dangerous vehicles in anything but extreme circumstances? We all should think more about making the right choice…um, I think you see where I’m going here. (And FWIW, I BFed my kid for 2 years.)The food safety thing–yes, arrrggh. But it’s not freaking me out that much. It’s on the list of “little niggling worries at the edge”. Hopefully we will have an administration in the US in a couple months that will be interested in restoring reasonable oversight.

  38. As someone with an adopted baby who even tried to induce lactation and couldn’t, I’m one of those for whom formula is a life saver, literally. Does anyone know if Costco/Kirkland formula is included, because that’s what Evie’s been eating mostly. I know it’s produced in the same factories as the name brands, so I’m suspecting it’s not excluded from this problem.I just feel incredulous that it seems a bigger fuss was made over the melamine in pet food than over this. I have been watching news off and on the past couple of days and hadn’t heard anything about this until I read Moxie’s post, yet the pet food thing was in the news nonstop. What gives? I second the hope that the Obama administration will beef up the power of the FDA to protect consumers.

  39. @ Sarah, our meat CSA is through Stillman’s Farm (we are in the Boston area)
    We split a large share with a friend (we don’t eat pork and she doesn’t eat lamb, so it kind of works out)
    There are also several farms around here doing a 1x/month delivery, capitalizing on the response they had to the Farmer’s Markets (which have pretty much ended around here).
    Maybe this can be a future askMoxie post, about ideas for finding/using more locally grown/raised food.

  40. Right on, Charisse.Formula, along with the birth control pill (both of which are not without their significant detriments) are, I think, two of the greatest contributors to the mobility and self-ownership of women. It boggles the mind–at least, my mind–to think how women with children were limited in their ability to be financially independent before the creation of an acceptable substitute–formula. I’m talking poor women, women that could’nt affor a wet nurse. Women that lived in poverty. Abject, miserable poverty. And financial independence, the ability to have financial independence, is the cornerstone of–it’s a co-opted phrase, but in its true meaning–cornerstone of women’s liberation.
    Which is not to say that the formula business hasn’t turned around and shat on those very same women.

  41. I’m already taking cover knowing the rants that will come my way after I post this but I feel it must be said.Moxie, I agree with you that badmom’s post was judgmental and harmful to all women who are entitled to chose between breast and formula and deserve safe, healthy, affordable choices with respect to same.
    That said, I think your response to her was so hostile that you are setting a tone for this site that silences those with differences of opinion. So be it, you may say. Yes, the site can still be of value for all those that want to rant together. But those with different views will disappear or keep their mouths shut and personally I think that’s a loss for all.
    That’s a change I’ve noticed on this site in recent months; a change that’s led me to visit far less often and probably disappear all together after today. Bon voyage, you may say. Well, this site just about saved my life during my first year of motherhood so I’m sad to say goodbye and sad for all the others out there who no longer enjoy visiting.
    For what it’s worth, I breastfed and only buy organic and I do disagree with badmom’s tone and opinion. I just don’t think we need to be so damn mean about it.

  42. I don’t get it. I raised my almost two year old on Dr Brown bottles, not having a clue what BPA was until she just outgrew the bottles. Now, with another girl on the way, and both being formula-fed, I have to trust and buy yet another set of BPA free (expensive) bottles and hope to god the formula is safe. I want to ask one question of this country and the FDA: WHAT THE HELL IS MELAMINE, A PLASTIC FOR FRICKS SAKE, DOING IN BABY FORMULA????????? God, it makes me so angry! I try to get as many fresh fruits/veg into my kid and myself, and is it even worth it? Will it even make a difference to eat ‘healthfully”?I expect this kind of shite from China of all places, especially lately, where they seem to sneak in anything short of and probably raw mercury into their crappy products, but us? The FDA is not doing their job…dont even get me started on how they pass medications! I live in Florida where weeds like Zucchini cost almost a dollar apiece and veggies are expensive. They grow them anywhere but here. So I wind up eating frozen and canned veg. I have to use WIC formula this time around, thanks to our lovely economy, and it’s Good Start. I have no clue how bad that is, but I have no choice. I wasnt even going to have kids, seeing how this world was going, so when I became preggo for the second and last time, I became scared: scared of bringing my precious girls into a crappy, dirty, polluted world. Whatever happens to this world, please; make is safer, not WORSE, for our kids. I understand our grandparents’ generation didnt give a damn about dumping filth into the rivers, etc. But arent we supposed to BETTER the world now?

  43. Dioxins in cows milk, fruit and vegetables; melamine in formula; hormones in meat; BPAs. While we are at it, how about mobile phones and Wi-Fi connections at home and at school.People living – or attending schools – near moblie phone masts are consistently exposed to electro-pollution and studies reveal a staggering incidence of symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and memory problems. There has also been suggestion of an increase in cancers and heart disease.
    “Wi-Fi systems essentially take small versions of these masts into the home and classroom – they emit much the same kind of radiation. Though virtually no research has been carried out, campaigners and some scientists expect them to have similar ill-effects. They say that we are all now living in a soup of electromagnetic radiation one billion times stronger than the natural fields in which living cells have developed over the last 3.8 billion years. This, they add, is bound to cause trouble”

  44. I think if Bad Mom didn’t take the tone she did, Moxie wouldn’t have taken the tone she did. There are ways to express a difference of opinion that doesn’t come across as “Idiots – what did you expect when you took the lazy way out and stuck your child in a swing with a bottle propped up while you sat on the couch watching QVC and eating cheetos”I found Bad Mom’s post to be offensive on many levels. “Normal creation, birth and nurture” “Deviation from the biological norm” Wow. Are c-sections offensive to Bad Mom, too? Who defines the “emergencies” Bad Mom speaks of?

  45. @Mom2Boys — I completely agree with everything you wrote. I found badmom’s comments scary and offensive too. I just expect more from Moxie than I do from some random poster. It doesn’t ruin the whole tone of a site when a comment here or there is offensive/mean. But when the “host” starts taking on that tone, it changes things. And it’s been happening here with increasing frequency, which is why I thought it worthy of comment.

  46. I just want to remind all of you who are feeling angry and frustrated that one big factor in ending above-ground nuclear testing was the activism of moms who were upset to learn about strontium in milk (breast and cow, I believe). By turning their frustration into action, women were a crucial part of the anti-nuclear movement and you have all benefited. So eat local, think global, and find others in your community who are working to make our government more accountable, our corporations more aware, and our food safer.

  47. @Suki – I agree with the change in tone lately. It has gotten so I am often reluctant to comment when I do not particularly agree with the discussion because I do not feel like getting chastised. And when I do agree, it is hardly worth piling on more of the same…so what’s the use?I first started reading this blog when I had a newborn, and though that whole time is very fuzzy, I just remember it being warm and supportive but with a diversity of opinions, offered as datapoints. Now it seems everyone is supposed to have the same opinion as Moxie.

  48. As upsetting as this is, we should all be grateful that we have food to eat. There are plenty of people in the world, heck our communities, that would appreciate a decent well-balanced meal.Instad of obsessing over microscopic amounts of pesticides or whether the carrots you’re eating were grown near a telephone post, go to the grocery store and buy a few cans of soup or pasta sauce for someone who’s truly hungry.

  49. As upsetting as this is, we should all be grateful that we have food to eat. There are plenty of people in the world, heck our communities, that would appreciate a decent well-balanced meal.Instad of obsessing over microscopic amounts of pesticides or whether the carrots you’re eating were grown near a telephone post, go to the grocery store and buy a few cans of soup or pasta sauce for someone who’s truly hungry.

  50. As upsetting as this is, we should all be grateful that we have food to eat. There are plenty of people in the world, heck our communities, that would appreciate a decent well-balanced meal.Instad of obsessing over microscopic amounts of pesticides or whether the carrots you’re eating were grown near a telephone post, go to the grocery store and buy a few cans of soup or pasta sauce for someone who’s truly hungry.

  51. @anon & Suki – The antidote to bad speech is more speech. But allow all speech, and suddenly you no longer have a meaningful dialogue: you have cacophony. As the host, Moxie has an obligation to reign in offensive & inaccurate speech happening within her space. She was completely within her rights to respond to what was a totally inappropriate post. Personally, I saw nothing wrong with Moxie’s tone today, but am sorry it made you feel silenced & would like to know more about that. How about giving her the benefit of the doubt? Because if she hadn’t responded, now that would’ve been truly offensive. So she’s in a bit of a “damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t” position here.The “change in tone” feedback you’ve shared would be really helpful if you’d dare to be more specific. What words offended? What should have been said instead? Please let folks know where you’re coming from, because your respectful voices are welcome & needed here!

  52. @P&P – huh? Any reason to assume that any of us _don’t_ donate to food pantries? Or any reason to think that worrying about the safety of the nations food supply is incompatable with being concerned with the problem of poverty and hunger?

  53. @Jax, I wish I could give you a big hug and tell you it will be OK, because chances are, it will be. The BPA thing is far from proven. No one has been able to determine how much leaches into the bottle contents under “normal use” conditions and if it does leach in, whether that is a problem for human health. The amount of melamine found in US formula is minuscule and nothing on the scale of the purposeful contamination that occurred in China. I suspect that it is an accidental by-product of some manufacturing process and that the companies are now testing for it, actively searching for the source, and trying to figure out how to remove the contamination.I agree with Moxie and some of the PPs- we should demand appropriate government standards. But we should also not let news reports like this paralyze us or give us anxiety attacks.
    I am not sure how it happened, but we stopped trusting the experts. We all want to examine all the data and make our own decisions. But the problem is, we don’t necessarily have the training or experience to put the data into context or to analyze it in a meaningful way. And even those of us with something like the necessary training don’t have the time to do the research we know we’d need to do to make a truly informed decision. This is what we pay the experts at the FDA to do. The vast majority of the people there are career scientists who genuinely want to do what is right. Maybe the recent politicization of the top spots and some high profile decisions have made us lose our trust. Certainly the climate lately has been to disregard evidence that doesn’t support your viewpoint and to belittle the value of specialized expertise in making decisions.
    We have to find a way to get a reasonable amount of trust in the experts back, because there is no way individuals can really become expert in all of the various fields that impact our lives.

  54. There are a lot of breastfeeding advocates out there who don’t “blame” moms who formula feed for not breastfeeding. It is not an easy thing to do and our society is extremely unsupportive of the practice. We get horrible advice from care providers who tend to be under-educated on the issue. Doctors don’t take courses on nutrition in med school and even pediatric residents don’t get all that much training on breastfeeding but they do get plenty of seminars, etc. from formula companies. Marketers show bottle feeding as the norm, and women who openly breastfeed face anything from disgusted faces to legal action. I can understand badmom’s frustration. And I don’t think it makes her misogynistic. Quite the opposite, in fact.The fact is that breastmilk doesn’t have paid lobbyists. Formula does. My guess is those lobbyists and the industry money have a lot to do with the FDA’s reluctance to come down any stronger on the melamine issue. That makes me very sad.
    And it makes me frustrated.
    And it makes me angry.
    And it makes me realize that if the lobbyists are powerful to keep the FDA from taking action on INFANT SAFETY – then what else is lurking out there?

  55. I agree, CG! That cracked me up.We all have off days. I have a fabulous and brilliant friend who for some reason seems unable to write an email message that is somehow not insulting and condescending. She’s awesome and she has a huge heart. But virtual communication can be tricky, Let’s cut each other some more slack!
    Suki, I hope you don’t stop reading. 🙁

  56. The tainted formula in China makes me mad mad mad, because it was intentional poisoning. Traces of malamine found in US formula doesn’t surprise me- it’s an industrial compound and it’s bound to show up in trace levels. But at levels thousands of times lower than found in the contaminated formula. It’s probably in breast milk as well. It also doesn’t surprise me that the FDA doesn’t know how much is safe- that’s probably really hard to determine. It’s probably also hard to completely eliminate from processed foods. Yes, we should do the studies, and work to make foods pure from these contaminants, but it seems to come with the territory of engineering food in any way- something that has certainly benefited humanity in the long run.I agree with Cloud that the scientific studies are often a lot less clear than the media hype. I’m freaking out a lot less on the BPA issue after reading some of the original studies. Ditto on mercury/autism.
    Overall I make a big effort to limit the amount of processed food my family consumes. We cook from scratch as much as possible, are vegetarian, eat organic, local, grown in our garden etc as much as possible. Even if no one is intentionally poisoning us our bodies did not evolve to handle most of the industrial chemicals that are bound to find their way into our food.
    Another thing to bear in mind is that we’ve actually come a long way as a society in identifying these things. I shudder to think of the crap that must have been in the formula I was fed, the lead that was on the walls I sucked on, in the snow I ate- a lot of these chemicals peaked in the environment in the early 70s, just when I was a wee one. They are much much lower now, thanks to the hard work of a lot of individuals and governments. There’s still tons more work to do, but I think we’re getting there.

  57. I do think that the human body is pretty resilient but baby formula should be held to highest possible standards. We should all do the best we can to make good food choices for our familes and the earth and I think that if we do, most of us will be healthy in regards to nutrition. Food is much safer now and in developed countries than when its rotting and being cleaned whith cholera water. But come on FDA- baby formula? Get it together!On the judgment and harsh comments above….wow. I find it so sad to see moms coming down with the sword of judgement on other mom’s. It makes me really sad. My 1 year old has severe food allergies and we took a last minute trip to Florida to see my grandmother who was not well. I bought some foods for the plane I thought my daughter might eat but shes not used to junk food (I needed packaged foods for traveling alone) and she wouldnt touch it. During a brief layover I tried to find her something at an aiport restaurant but none of them could provide me allergy information in a timely way so I ran to McDonalds and bought her some french fries which I know are safe allergy wise. We boarded the plane and some women walked by and exclaimed her horror at me feeding my baby McDonalds fries. She sat there cloaked in her rightous judgment not knowing that I was doing the best I could right then. I would have prefered organic squash and potatoes with bison for her but alas, that wasnt available and my baby was hungry. So before you go damning everyone to a life of cancer and hell for their horrible choices, maybe give a little benefit of the doubt and assume that everyone is doing the best they can right then. Sure, not everyone is but its a lot more likely that they are.
    I’m personally grateful that I was able to successfully breastfeed for a whole year and instead of thinking that makes me superior, I’m thinking that just makes me really lucky and grateful. And when push comes to shove, I’ll buy the fries.

  58. If you can breastfeed, do it, if you can’t, don’t. But if you can’t, be aware of what you’re feeding your kid. Its formula. Composed of stuff less than natural. It sucks, but it will never be perfect. No amount of research or money can make a processed food the same as a natural one. Can’t imagine why all the fuss over this, it can’t be a surprise that the government isn’t bending over backwards to fix this – think of all the crazy stuff out there that is harmful to us that we use day to day. yes, I agree that its horrid that baby formula is sketchy, but so are many many many other things out there. Its called life. Sometimes you just have to live the best you can. Worrying yourself sick over these things helps nobody.

  59. I agree that the tone has been changing in here recently. I would be specific if I could come up with an example, but it’s just a feeling right now. All I can say is that it bums me out.That said, Moxie has no obligation to post anything or take any tone, good or bad. It’s all a generous service, and it has served me well. But I probably won’t be participating anymore.

  60. Wow, I’m really surprised. I think the tone has shifted as well and it’s certainly a personal choice where we spend our time on the interweb but to say “I’m done with Moxie” is kinda harsh. After all she has given to moms when we had no where to go…I certainly respect your choice, but still- these comments have left a bad taste in my mouth.

  61. Here’s a link on that jet fuel thing:'m so frustrated about product safety that I’ve started producing as much of our food myself as I can. I acquired a small flock of chickens a couple of months ago and am anxiously waiting for them to be old enough to lay eggs. Did you know it’s legal in most places, even cities, to keep two or three chickens in the backyard for eggs?

  62. … this crisis has been really eating me up, and everytime I try to talk to someone about it, they say I am overreacting. I think it makes me feel extra awful about the fact that I couldn’t nurse my daughter completely, and now not at all. (whole other story… essentially milk never came in, she tore me to pieces, took domperidone for supply but it never got right. I always had to supplement with formula and pumped round the clock until the end of her 7th month, when I let myself off the hook). If we parents of small children can;t trust our government to regulate and keep clean something like baby formula where does that leave us?

  63. @Kelly, I really, really think you shouldn’t worry about giving your daughter US formula. Really. I don’t think the amount of melamine found in ONE BATCH of ONE BRAND of formula is enough to be anxious about. The Chinese situation was completely different- in that case, someone purposefully adulterated the milk used to make the formula so that they could use less milk while still appearing to provide the same protein content. There was far more melamine in the Chinese formula than the trace amounts the FDA found here.Sure, we would all rather that there was NO melamine found, and I think it is fine to want our government to set the strict standards for something as important as baby formula and even to be angry that this sort of thing doesn’t get the attention we may feel it deserves. But I don’t think what has been found in the US formulas is worth the worry it is causing.
    And please don’t feel bad because you were not able to breastfeed your daughter as long as you wanted. You should feel proud that you were able to do what you did given the obstacles you faced.

  64. Okay, I need to be anon this time. I work as a scientist and I too worry about the foods that I feed my family.Some of the melamine issues have been true intentional adulteration. Melamine in combination with cyanuric acid forms insoluble crystals that can cause kidney failure. While neither chemical is good, the combination of the two is particularly bad.
    Protein content is determined by a non-specific nitrogen analysis. So, it is easy to appear to have more protein in a product and make more money. So now labs are measuring protein the old way and screening for melamine. What happens when another chemical that contains lots of nitrogen is added? It might be time to ask for a more specific test for protein. (It is a good solution, but will take time and money)
    I am not sure what the overall solution is. I do think that everyone, governments included does the best that they can with the information, time, and money that they have.

  65. I am the first anon that posted and want to clarify that I do not plan to stop reading Moxie anytime soon. I just wanted to bring up what I had noticed because it does make me sad. The only specific example I can think of right now is sort of a lame one, but it was the conversation about the motrin/baby wearing ad – maybe this reflects badly on me but I was a little amused by that ad. I pretty much felt like an imposter as a mother since I found out I was pregnant, like I was playing house, and I clearly remember wearing my daughter in her sling for the first time and thinking, “wow I look like a real mom” like in the ad, which did offend many others. So I was thinking about writing a comment with something to that effect, but then the whole exchange happened about someone who actually admitted to having pain and being ok with it after trying everything possible to deal with it… And it just didn’t feel like an open discussion after that. Maybe I am too sensitive. I can deal with it, but it changes the way I read things on this site.

  66. @Serena from way earlier (and @Moxie too) – I would love to see a post on finding good, safe, healthy food. I’m pretty passionate about farmers’ markets and such.

  67. Coming in way late here, but I wrote about the melamine issue for Strollerderby and now FDA has set standards. And they are: 1 part per million of either melamine or cyanuric acid; if both are present it is less (one would hope, none, but the article I saw was not specific).As for me, it’s not just food additives, it’s everything. I have PCOS and so do so many other women I know. I know more people who went through some problem with fertility than those who didn’t. My son had hypospadias at birth –it was mild, and is now fixed, but my poor seventh month old baby had to have surgery. Now they are saying hypospadias is caused by phalates, which makes me worry–was it the manicure I had at about seven weeks? Is it my shampoo? Sheesh.
    I just feel like we can’t win and I can’t afford organic everything anyway, so I do what a lot of the rest of you do — take my risks and educate myself. But leave my tinfoil hat at home :-).

  68. I have only read a few of the comments, so I don’t know if this has come up.@Badmom
    I’m adopted. One of my friends just adopted a newborn.
    My parents and my friend did not have a choice but to bottle feed (for obvious reasons). Did I not deserve to get a good source of nutrition? Does my friends newborn not deserve to get a safe form of nutrition?
    (For argument sakes) Even if all the mom’s in the world were magically able to breastfeed, when an emergency situation came up, why should the child be punished by getting formula that my be tainted with God knows what?
    Coke has never said that it is good for you. They have never made it safe for you to drink lots of in a day. Formula is supposed to be safe. The companies that make formula tell you it is safe.
    I have more to say, but I will stop.

  69. When I see someone making an ass of themselves on the internets and notice that they don’t know the difference between “who’s” and “whose”, it exhausts me. It’s great, though, because that kind of grade school mistake at the beginning of a rant allows me to discount everything that follows.

  70. @badmom … I don’t have time to go back and read everyone else’s posts, but I need to step in and probably repeat what others have already said. Please don’t tell me or any other formula feeding mom that we should have chose to breastfeed. What you don’t know is that many can’t. Many of us never had that choice. I breastfed and pumped every two hours for three straight weeks. I tried fenugreek, and the icky tea, and everything else that anyone said would help. In the end I produced a whopping ONE ounce per day of formula. My son needed more like 2-3 ounces at each feeding – closer to THIRTY ounces per day. See the problem? He was losing weight and would not have survived without formula. I cried for weeks because I “failed” at such a basic thing. But you know what? I didn’t fail. I tried my best and the best for my baby is formula.You need to think little before you make comments like that. Or you know what? How about trying to get up for 45 minutes every two hours around the clock with a crying baby and don’t feed them. See how long you last before you judge anyone else for their choices.

  71. thanks for the post, Moxie, and for your moderation of the comments. I pumped for 8 months with a baby that had terrible, undiagnosed (til she was 9 months old)reflux and a tongue issue-undiagnosed till a few weeks ago–at 2 years old- so got all the BM i could pump–about 3 ounces a day, and the rest was formula. i know the level the FDA set is the same as Canada’s allowable melamine in formula, but apparently Taiwan has set the allowable level for melamine in formula at 20 times lower than the FDA’s level–why isn’t the FDA using that lower level?This is so messed up.
    There are a million things each of us moms could do differently to fit some other mom’s idea of the right thing to do. I am sure if we examined everything badmom has done with her kids since day one, we could all find a lot to criticize. But most of us aren’t jerks like that.

  72. I fear the rotten tomatoes, but here goes:It seems to me that Badmom didn’t judge people for their choices – didn’t say they should have chosen breastfeeding, but only that that was a choice. And that’s not to say your reasons weren’t valid, but it is a choice that you make, based on the very limited options (formula or: milk bank? homemade formula from a naturopath? underground donations?). And in making that choice (again, not judging, know plenty of people who had to make that very painful choice) we need to all be aware of the all that that choice entails. The formula companies do not want us to know that formula is made with inferior product that maximizes profits, that NO FORMULA, I repeat NO FORMULA is sterile (a baby in IL just died from bacteria in the formula), and that if it’s not mixed to the exact measurements it can be dangerous. That’s not to say that it does not have it’s place and is useful, but we NEED TO BE INFORMED consumers, and in having all of the information we are able to take the right precautions (e.g., using boiling water to kill any bacteria).
    I am doing a project about breastfeeding and I have done many interviews of scientists and other experts in the lactation field. These are compassionate people who were not judging ANYONE, and have seen everything. When asked about the benefits of breastfeeding every single one said, “I will not talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, I will only talk about the risks of formula. People need to know the risks so they can compensate.” It’s not that they shouldn’t, but that they need to know. And if you make that difficult choice, it’s better to know. Knowledge is power.
    When I asked one of them, a fabulous and compassionate female nurse, about the guilt around formula feeding, that we were trying to be gentle about the formula and not make anyone feel bad, she said (I paraphrase): TELL THEM. Women are strong, and they can be strong in their choices, and if they made the decision to use formula, they can embrace it and know that they did it for reasons that were right for them and everyone else can go to hell. But that’s know reason to keep this crucial info from women who make a more cavalier decision based on lack of information, or the mistaken idea that formula is just as good.
    One more point, other countries like Australia and most European countries have milk banks set up that are safe and affordable and widely used. It is the norm when breastfeeding isn’t possible; formula is a last resort. The milk costs about $11 a liter, compared with $400-500 per here in the US. Do you think the formula companies have something to do with that?
    I am still breastfeeding my 16 month old, and had a real easy time of it. But in my research, have heard hundreds of stories of women who have not, for many reasons, physical, lack of support, culture, etc.
    Breastfeeding women and those who use formula should not be against each other out of fear and guilt and anger and shame. Let’s not judge each other, but instead use this energy to fight for better formula, tougher regulations and penalties, better alternatives, more support, longer maternity leaves etc etc, that work towards the empowerment of moms and the health of our babies.

  73. I think most of us who read this site are well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. I’m sorry, but among educated mothers of our generation, it’s pretty much preaching to the converted. That’s why those of us who can’t breastfeed for whatever reason may get a little defensive (and rightfully so) when people say things that imply it’s really our fault if our kids get sick from toxic formula because we all know formula is the devil. I know that breastmilk is the best choice – I myself was breastfed until I was nearly four – but my kids were adopted and because we live in the US where milk banks are not readily available and affordable, formula is what they have needed to thrive.I believe adamantly that I should have access to affordable organic formula for my kids. I don’t think that being an advocate for breastfeeding and being an advocate for having the option of formula that isn’t downright BAD for infants and toddlers are mutually exclusive goals. And I’m really continually grateful that Moxie seems to realize that too.

  74. “The formula companies do not want us to know that formula is made with inferior product that maximizes profits, that NO FORMULA, I repeat NO FORMULA is sterile (a baby in IL just died from bacteria in the formula), and that if it’s not mixed to the exact measurements it can be dangerous.”Uh, Beth? What? Formula companies jolly well DO want you to know that if you mix formala wrong, it’s dangerous. You know where they hide this information? On the can. You know, of formula.
    I kind of doubt that breast milk is sterile, either, as it is a bodily fluid, and I doubt most women pasteurize.
    But that’s neither here nor there. I am not here to sully the boob juice.
    I’m just kind of tired of the argument that goes “FORMULA IS HORRIBLE AND WILL PERMANENTLY HARM YOUR BABY OMG…oh. But if you, like, HAVE to use it, that’s okay. It’ll probably be mostly okay. I guess. But you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Or worry. You should just know that your choice is dangerous and stuff. But don’t worry. I’m not criticizing you.”
    Is formula somehow better for my baby because I made an informed decision on the advice of a whole cadre of doctors? If I were an idiot who chose formula because I thought the cans were pretty, would it be worse? Wouldn’t it be the same product?

  75. Further examination of the can reveals this: “No powdered formula is sterile,” printed about 1/4″ down from the Breastmilk is Best disclaimer.If they don’t want us to know that, they really suck at discretion.

  76. I really don’t know if it does have some scftieniic evidence or if someone made it up and now it has been floating around out in the world of parenting myths’. I know that as a little one, it is easier to overfeed a baby when giving them formula, since lots of babies like the sucking and people tend to think they need to eat more than they do. But that is just as likely to happen with a breastfed baby if the parents are not hep’ to the fact that the baby just likes the comfort. I know plenty of formula fed babies that are not at all overweight and don’t have issues with eczema and asthma. There are too many variables in such a claim, that I can not imagine a direct correlation could be formed. I wouldn’t worry too much.

  77. I going to be starting the Herbalife diet with my hubby . Does it work?I am doing the full pack with the semplupents, shakes, protein etc.List of products:Herbalife Shakes Mixes: come in a variety of flavors, and contain up to 20 essential vitamins and minerals as well as health-enhancing herbs and 9g of soy protein, as well as being a healthy source of fiber.Herbalife Herbal Concentrate: Low-calorie tea-mix for a tasty and healthy alternative to coffee and sodas -comes in several flavors and includes selected herbs and green tea for its thermogenic and antioxidant properties.Herbalife Multivitamin Complex: A daily multivitamin and mineral supply, plus selected herbs, to maintain health of bones, skin, hair and the immune system, and promote overall well-being and long-term good health.Herbalife Cell Activator: Essential nutrients, plus selected botanicals, to improved nutrient absorption and support cellular energy production and stamina.Herbalife Protein Powder: a blend of unflavored whey and soy protein powder, that is mixed in shakes, soups and sauces to help maintain lean muscle mass and reduce hunger.Herbalife Cell U Lossae: A supplement to help reduce fluid accumulation in the body, shown for example in dimpled skin which may form when fatty tissues in certain parts of the body accumulate fluid and wastes.Herbalife Total Controlae: A herbal enhancer that works at the cellular level to promote weight loss. Boosts fat-burning metabolism, and builds energy and soothes digestion. Contains green tea extract with yerba mate9, ginger and other selected herbs.Herbalife Snack Defense™: A weight-management supplement that works all day to reduce the desire for sweets while lowering the between-meals ’snacking’ urge.Also of course, we will be doing more then just dieting , we will be doing regular exercise.We have very busy life styles, so this meal plan seems ideal for us, rather then missing meals, or eating too much making up for missed meals etc. Please anyone with their stories if they’ve done this, please share.

  78. Nothing I have WIC but the brand they give us is enfamil preumim and it cost 13 dollar a can we get nine cans a month 13 times 9 equals 117 dollars but we only use like 7 cans so 7 times 13 equals 91 dollars

  79. Cellular Nutrition for healthy weghit management. Delicious shakes in your choice of flavors. Energizing herbal beverage. Losing weghit doesn’t get any easier! Whip up two meal-replacement shakes a day with your favorite Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix flavor. Boost your intake of essential nutrients, with Formula 2 Multivitamin Complex and Cell Activator, and shed unwanted pounds and inches. I lost 40lbs in 14 weeks and went from 240lbs to 200lbs and I’m 6’2 tall and 50 years old.

  80. I was having a sialimr talk with my Day Home Goddess the other day, how I can relate to Theya’s occasional desire to sit out play time and just watch and the great thing is, Justine lets her.I also hate the forced participation events/people. I’m shy. I work well with others, I communicate well with others and when I worked in an office, I definitely felt like others enjoyed working with me. I don’t need to play competitive games to learn how to play together. I know how, I do it when I need to, gladly.I also hate the Oh She’s Just Sitting There Watching Everyone, She Must Need Coaxing people. I don’t have to be on the dance floor to enjoy a party.I’m glad I can remember what it was like to be such a shy kid. I’ve grown out of a lot of it and it certainly makes life easier now, but I’m glad I can let Theya know that it’s OK to be shy.Um, k, sorry for barfing all over your comments.. lol I hope that made sense.

  81. If you have time, you might ask local friends if a tour of a milk plant is abvllaaie, and might a group visit such a facility. It might answer questions of what makes up the milk’s content, the feeding of cows, delivery from farm to processing plant, and sanitation throughout the process.Best wishes, HJW

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