The Headline reads: Recall on “illegally” imported European formula
Ouch, as a parent your already being inundated with fake news and a plethora of bad news from way too many sources.
This latest scare regarding baby formula is so out of wack as to be laughable. Once again there’s some real questions about the validity of even the major outlets being accurate, or are they shills for paid groups ?
The bottom line, European imported baby formula is both safe, may be iron enhanced and not deficient, is not illegal to purchase for your personal or family use and may be safer than many other options.
The FDA got involved but focused on the labeling. Which is curious given their lack of evaluation of the contents. There is no question that proper labeling in English is both a regulatory consideration and important for consumers however the reaction and the timing seem more than suspicious as not really being a necessary recall for the consumer.
Nearly 80,000 units of baby formula products distributed by Able Groupe are being recalled, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I think it’s interesting the the concern about toxic elements found in baby food is not the top issue vs a simple labeling consideration.
To be clear there is no obvious danger from the use of these formulas.
For a deeper view of the situation please read Jonathan Stanley’s article below.
- The European products are safe, there is no need to replace them
- Breast milk is almost always the best option.
- Check the ingredients of all formulas before using; they are all very different
Why European Infant Formula May Be The Safest (If You Can Find It)
For those of us who went out of our way to do the extensive research and pay exorbitant costs to ensure our infants received the best food on the planet: this is for you and your family.
The New York Times recently published a bit of a hit piece against European infant formula recently. Shortly after, US Customs began interfering with those imports from Europe. And shortly after that, the US FDA published a recall notice.
Are we so naive to believe the NYT is just trying to help educate consumers and has no conflict of interest by advertising formula maker “Bobbie” and simultaneously attacking its competitors. Perhaps it is total a coincidence of timing that the FDA and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) suddenly found this issue to fill up their empty schedule in 2021.
But let’s take a closer look. You know, just for fun.
Formula Misinformation Originating From The NYT
European Baby Formula That Is Illegally Sold in the United States Carries Risks
— Christina Caron and Jessica Grose for New York Times June 11, 2019
Misleading. Although selling European formula may be illegal, the article itself admits that European formula is not sold in the US. The article does not give any evidence that importing infant formula for personal use is illegal.
a growing number of parents are buying European formulas, even though it’s technically illegal to import them to the US
— Christina Szalinski, for New York Times March 12, 2021
Also misleading. As noted in the article, the USDA says that “illegally imported [formula] should not be used”. This does not mean that importing formula is necessarily illegal.
Liquid milk and milk products intended for use by infants or very young children are admissible if in a reasonable amount or small quantity for several days.
— US Customs Border Patrol Article-3619
Can FDA-regulated food products be imported for personal use?
Yes, you can import food for personal use [.]
— FDA: Personal Importation
When determining the admissibility of baby formula for personal use a CBP officer will determine if the baby formula is for personal or commercial use (i.e. interstate commerce).
— US Customs Border Patrol Article-392
In other words: it appears perfectly legal to import infant formula from Europe for personal use.
FDA Failed To Provide The Whole Truth On Formula
[European] Infant Formula Formulas Have Insufficient Iron
— US FDA, Recall Notice August 8, 2021
The FDA also made a similar statement in a Twitter post (it had a mere 19 likes at the time of this writing).
- The FDA reposted a press release from Able Group. There is no indication that the FDA tested any of the products or verified any of the statements. The stated iron content remains as labeled on the European packaging. In other words, the FDA tacitly affirmed the accuracy of European label.
- Infant iron supplements are readily available throughout the US.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics said in 1999: “The low-iron formulas produced in the United States contain a range of 1.5 mg/L to 4.5 mg/L of iron.” According to the publication, the FDA defines low-iron formula as those with 6.7 mg/L.
- Using approximate conversions from the recall notice, the European formulas had stated iron content ranging from 5mg/L to 10.2mg/L. Therefore, the European formula contain more iron than typical US “low-iron” formula that was sold in the US. Those European formulas with more than 6.7mg/L may be described as “iron-fortified”.
- Human breast milk has even less iron (0.4 mg/L). By the FDA’s requirements, human breast milk also contains “insufficient iron” or “low-iron”.
- The Journal of Pediatrics published findings in 2019 that “Adolescents who received iron-fortified formula as infants from 6 to 12 months of age at levels recommended in the US had poorer cognitive outcomes compared with those who received a low-iron formula.”
- It is unclear if the recall from Able Group was made at the direction of the FDA.
In other words: the stated European infant formulas generally contain a healthy range of iron; all substantially beyond what is contained in human breast milk.
For those infants with food sensitivities or other risks, European formulas may offer improved health outcomes otherwise unavailable within the US.
Individual infant dietary needs and risks are best determined by the parents in consultation with their pediatrician. The one-size-fits-all approach by the FDA may be denying infants the healthiest and safest option available. Thre doesn’t appear to be a legal basis to deny personal use of these European infant formulas.
Those, such as the FDA, who prefer particular wording on labels, are certainly welcome to create those labels and share them with the world. In any case, please stop using the truncheon on our children.