(NaturalNews) The Cornucopia Institute, based out of Cornucopia, Wisconsin, is dedicated to preserving smaller family farms that adhere to organic food standards. They also monitor and police larger agricultural enterprises who promote themselves as organic. The institute serves to protect consumers from the corporate takeover of organic farming that tends to reduce organic standards.
Cornucopia has recently filed complaints regarding a synthetically derived oil used as additives by some corporate dairies, especially against those dairies that promote themselves as organic with the USDA organic seal displayed.
The Suspect Oil
The oil is added to almost all infant formulas and some larger supposedly organic dairy products. The claim from dairy and infant formula producers is that this oil adds more DHA Omega-3 to its products and enhances brain growth to improve intelligence.
Since the oil is synthetic, there are concerns about the promotional claims veracity and the potential negative health consequences. Cornucopia also asserts that the products using this oil should not be considered truly organic.
The oil is produced by Martek Biosciences Corporation. It is produced by first fermenting algae in a laboratory environment. Then the oil is extracted with hexane. Hexane is a byproduct of refining oil for gasoline. It is expressly forbidden by the USDA's organic labeling guidelines.
Hexane extraction is one of the reasons cooking or salad oils that are not expelled (mechanical) or cold pressed are unhealthy. So make sure all your oils are expelled or cold pressed, and make sure your corn oils are also organic to avoid GMO corn oils.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) challenged industry claims the adding Martek's hexane derived from algae with hexane oil improves health and cognitive abilities. The FTC's function in food and supplement issues is to seek scientific evidence supporting health claims.
Unfortunately for those who promote the oil as an additive that enriches food to enhance children's brain development, even Martek's own study of 175 children could not prove this. The study was reported in the journal Clinical Pediatrics. And there have been many adverse reports to the FDA from parents using baby formulas with this algal/fungal oil. (FDA Sample, source below)
So the FTC has issued warnings, a first phase step in restraining potential violators, to those companies who advertise their products with the Martek oil additive as a superior source of omega-3 nutrition. In 2009, the European Food Safety Authority rejected a petition for promoting foods that use this oil additive in infant formulas.
Alleged USDA Organic Cheaters
According to the Cornucopia Institute, of the USDA Certified Organic dairy products: "Only two organic dairy processors are currently adding Martek's DHA algal oil to its organic milk products -- Horizon and Stremick's. Organic Valley's milk with omega-3 DHA includes fish oil, which has been approved for use in organics".
To see how your dairy products of choice stack up, Cornucopia issues a very comprehensive survey rating list linked in the sources section below. But buyer beware. Occasionally, a store chain will market dairy items with their own names that are actually provided by either Horizon or Stremick or one of the lower ranked Cornucopia survey's dairy providers. When it comes to organic, bigger is usually not better.