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FDA questioning baby formula industry, contemplates its relevance


Baby formula

(NaturalNews) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently proposed that manufacturers in the infant formula industry conduct research trials on products prior to making health claims. Such claims include a product's ability to increase an infant's intelligence, be "allergy-proof" and reduce colic, according to reporting by STAT.

The agency has established a specific set of scientific standards it would like the infant formula industry to meet before recommending their products as a treatment or preventative measure for certain medical conditions.

The FDA's proposal will be adopted pending a 60 day comment period. If approved, the infant formula industry will have to "gather evidence to back assertions of how their products actually function in a baby's body," reports confirm.

FDA proposes stricter research methods for infant formula industry

"The move marks the first time that the FDA has proposed a standard, even a voluntary one such as this, for companies making health claims about a specific food. (The FDA did develop a standard for dietary supplements broadly,)" according to STAT.

"In recent years, formula manufacturers have increasingly developed specialized products, often with vitamins, other nutrients, or additives, which they target to parents eager for their babies to have superior immune systems, digestion, or brains."

The FDA says that because infancy is a "vulnerable period when critical growth and development occur," more precautions should be taken "to ensure the safety of all modifications to infant formula, even if the purpose of the modification is to more closely mirror the composition and health benefits of human milk."

Vaccine research remains lacking

Interestingly, other government agencies such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fail to take the same precautions.

Research on the safety of childhood vaccines and their potential risks is often biased, as the authorities who oversee this matter work on both sides of the fence – the regulatory side and the vaccine manufacturer side.

For example, former CDC director Julie Gerberding is now the head of Merck's vaccine division. The Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy sheds more light on the lack of research behind the risks of childhood vaccines:

"For years, advocates have asked that the government perform a large study of fully-vaccinated children compared to unvaccinated controls to assess their total health and to compare autism rates in the two populations. The standard response to our request has been silence or the argument that to leave children unvaccinated is 'unethical.' Since populations who have chosen not to vaccinate for religious reasons already exist, we feel it is more unethical to inject 4 million infants a year in this country with a vaccine schedule that has not been subjected to a placebo-controlled clinical trial."

Infant formula industry ramps up health claims in recent years

Health claims on infant formula products have increased and grown more creative over the years.
Research published in the May 2016 issue of Clinical Pediatrics found that out of 22 labels on infant formula products, 13 of them made claims about treating colic and gastrointestinal symptoms without supporting science.

"There is insufficient evidence to support the claims that removing or reducing lactose, using hydrolyzed or soy protein or adding pre-/probiotics to formula benefits infants with fussiness, gas, or colic," the study authors concluded.

"Yet claims like 'soy for fussiness and gas' encourage parents who perceive their infants to be fussy to purchase modified formula. Increased regulation of infant formula claims is warranted."

The FDA intends to curb claims that are unsubstantiated by establishing new standards for the industry. The baby food market has experienced major growth in recent years, ballooning from $36.7 billion in 2010, to about $55 billion in 2015, according to Statista.

The rise in sales is a result of Americans feeling more willing and comfortable about having children. Following the 2009 recession, rates of childbirth in the United States declined; however, trends have moved upwards again with the increase in economic stability.

Sources:

Statista.com

StatNews.com

Ebcala.org

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