Updated: Jun 1, 2022
EYES WIDE OPEN MUM & DAD
A couple of weeks ago, I did a live stream discussing the current formula shortage sweeping across the US, predicting that the Canadian market will feel the effects and the European formulas will be in high demand and possibly quite difficult to get... and here we are, feeling the effects of this shortage in Canada with the European milks. To summarize the current situation, there are 4 approved formula manufacturers in the US which control 90% of the baby formula market... ultimately making this industry completely monopolized. It's being reported that the product shortages in baby formulas began in the US in mid-2021... yes I said that right 2021!!! The media is claiming that this current crisis is due to product shortages & supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic. It's also been reported that a whistle blower came forward to the FDA back in October raising concerns about the safety of the Abbott Sturgis plant (the pharmaceutical company that owns Similac), claiming that the machines needed repairs. Now instead of fixing the machines, a couple months after the whistle was blown, Abbott spent a reported 5 billion buying back stock, a process typically used to enrich shareholders. Now what's interesting here is that the FDA did not act when they were made aware of possible failings. Now the lack of attention to this matter has been reported to lead to bacteria outbreak which began in February 2022 and sent many Similac, Alimentum & EleCare products into recall; the US Gov claims four infants were hospitalized and two died from this bacteria. Some reports show Abbott has actually denied that the infants died from their products. The plant has consequently been closed by the FDA and is expected to reopen soon, as they have come to an "agreement", however it will take at least 2 months to have products available for sale, leaving shelves empty for how long?
OPINION – my 2 cents here is that this is an oligolpoly, all 4 approved corporations & the gov are in bed together making it a very lucrative relationship on all ends. Each state receives Gov funding for their WIC (women, infant, child) programs and Abbott is the exclusive provider to about half of infants in WIC. Hmmmm...
With each day that passes there seems to be more information coming out in the mainstream so for us it's difficult to understand what is actually going on here because both the FDA and Abbott are pointing fingers at each other.
Is this about Gov "regulations" that are prohibiting Abbott from making formula at this time?
Is this FDA neglect?
Is this this corporate greed, lack of policy, safety measures, regulations & standards?
Is this FDA negligence or Abbott Lab failings? Well, it's likely both.
What's fact here is that this is what happens when there is a monopolized industry and when lobbying becomes common practice. Once again, 4 corporations make all US baby formulas – when one goes down the pressure is placed on all other corporations... $$$. The FDA has created this monopolized market with these 4 mass corporations, it bans the sale of European formulas, fully well knowing that the ingredients are far better than all archaic recipes available for sale in the US and their reasoning is due to "labelling requirements"!! And of course these 4 corporations most definitely don't want the Euro and New Zealand formulas here because they know how far superior they are and they will have to completely change their recipes and processes to even come close to holding a torch to what these formulas represent.
Another question, why has excessive amounts of formula just been held at the boarder during this crisis... why are they stopping imports from coming in when babies are quite literally starving?!
So what does this mean for Canadian babies? Well, we are now seeing the trickle down affect hit the Canadian market. Store shelves are becoming sparse. Parents are panicking and taking to ordering online grasping for whatever they can get at this point. Many are becoming more aware of the European & New Zealand formulas because of how easily digestible, clean and most similar to breast milk they are. However, these formulas have been told to us as being "unapproved" or "not safe". Many parents who have made the jump from the US formulas are seeing a complete difference in their babies now that they have found a box of Euro formula online in a panic... it's like night and day isn't it? So this awakening is now sending these stigmatized, underground, liquid gold, crunchy mumma loved brands into a surge! People who have never even heard of the brands are buying them online because they can't find anything else! Now this is a problem of course – supply and demand. Currently Euro formulas are feeling the export stretch & these clean formulas are becoming increasingly more difficult to get.
Europe does things quite differently when it comes to their commitment to keeping things clean.
Mérieux NutriSciences is a third party European tearing agency which provides a complete service covering analytical, regulatory and consulting needs. They have reported on their website ( www.merieuxnutrisciences.com )
“Requirements and limits for contaminants and residues in baby food are very stringent, with much lower levels than any other non-baby food product: pesticides, veterinary drugs, mycotoxins, heavy metals, etc. must meet strict requirements to ensure safety and quality.”
What's the equivalent to this third party agency here you ask... nothing, we don't have anything, it just goes directly to the FDA & CFIA and this is EXACTLY where the problem lies.
It's important to understand that as a parent, you're eyes need to be wide open right now.
Be prepared and aware of what's really happening here... DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. World leaders are highlighting a mass food shortage and it seems to all start here with the babies. Abbott is a pharmaceutical company which seems to be hugely dominant in the baby formula industry... in an era of big pharma take over, what does that say to you?
This is just the latest of the many eyebrow raising concerns in the North American baby food industry... much of which the mainstream isn't even showing you (surprise surprise).
If you've been following our journey with educating parents on the differences with European baby foods vs North American baby foods, you've become uncomfortably familiar with cadmium, arsenic, lead, mercury and an additional neurotoxin called perchlorate.
Marketplace exposed the extremely high levels of arsenic in baby foods when they tested mother's toe nails and baby's toe nails and results confirmed that baby's had 20 times more arsenic in their systems than their moms do... this is due mostly to the rice snacks and baby snacks babies are consuming... many coming from China.
A recent Staff Report from the U.S. House of Representatives detailed, many popular baby food and formula manufacturers have very concerning levels of heavy metals. These brands include: Nurture Inc (Happy Family Organics, and HappyBaby), Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Hain Celestial Group Inc (Earth's Best Organic), Gerber, Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics), Walmart (Parent's Choice), and Sprout Foods, Inc.
The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Committee on Oversight and Reform prepared a response report to an October 2019 study from the non-profit Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF) organization. This non-profit tested toxic heavy metals in 61 baby food brands and 168 different formula & food products.
Now although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for all food safety and regularly tests products for heavy metal contamination, the agency HAS NOT set maximum allowable levels of heavy metals in baby foods!!! Shocking isn't it??? These are tiny little tummies and growing body's that require good quality foods to help build their overall health & wellness and these companies are loading them with toxins from their very early days on.
So let's actually go a little deeper with this, all foods tend to already have trace heavy metals, vegetables especially, which is due to environmental factors and it's unavoidable actually –foods which grow in the soil retain what the soil has and soil does contain heavy metals, even organic soil. Our bodies filter out heavy metals through the kidneys and liver but not everyone can do that 100% effectively, especially new little organs! There will always be some small amount of heavy metals present in foods it would take a very high amount to deem them extremely problematic but in regular consumption, these levels continue to build and that's what causes the toxicity in the body. Low levels of heavy metals found in baby foods are not likely to pose the highest risk of a child's overall toxic metal exposure, so we want to make sure we are limiting them.
So, ready for some stats? Here are what the test results of baby foods and their ingredients have shown.
Levels up to:
91 times the arsenic level
177 times the lead level
69 times the cadmium level
5 times the mercury level
What we are seeing today, with the formula shortage crisis is that ultimately, this entire industry is compromised & monopolized by all those involved – even the FDA. These findings, this shortage crisis, bring to light the extreme role the Gov plays in regards to products/foods we are "allowed" to provide to our families – their involvement and complete control over the baby industry. This is not a free market, if it were, then there would not be a shortage crisis right now. In a perfect world, the FDA's job would be to regulate companies and ensure the utmost safety measures & standards are in place. Instead of having an invested interest in the lobbying element and containing the industry to only 4 massive corporations that already have questionable practices.
Listen, if you were to ask me, I'd much prefer to buy my baby formula from a small business with integrity, values and a proven trust factor. Heck, I'd prefer to buy the milk straight from a farmer and deliver it to a crunchy mumma who makes it all from scratch in her kitchen, a mum who has fed all 6 of her kids and many of the babes in the surrounding area the good, organic, nutrient dense stuff – to me that is a far less risky option than these companies that use toxic, cheap ingredients in machines which are breaking down & breeding cesspools of bacteria! Remember, just because it's "approved" for sale, doesn't mean it's good, healthy and non-toxic... in-fact I've come to learn it's probably quite the opposite actually!
Parents, you MUST demand more for your babies... it's our job to understand that these levels of toxins in their foods, these conditions in the factories are completely unacceptable. This is a priority and ALL babies deserve better, it blows my mind how this is now just the standard practice... par for the course if you will.
Opting for less risk comes down to making the right choice, which involves your own research and awareness as to what is actually in your baby's foods. Like I always say – YOU MUST READ INGREDIENT LABELS. But our responsibility actually goes further than that... just because a product is deemed "safe" for consumption that does NOT mean that it doesn't have toxins, we must dig deeper into the brands we choose. This choice sits with us – we all have a choice in what we choose to feed our little ones, it's a choice between opting for the better version, the better quality, the better brand, better ingredients, better processing & better values.
It's our mission at Yumibabi & The YumiMumi to provide baby foods and products with the utmost strictest organic standards, and that's exactly why we chose European baby foods. The European Commission has stricter regulations than the US’s Food and Drug Administration regarding what can and cannot be included in infant and toddler formulas & foods in general. Essentially, this means European-produced formulas have higher quality ingredient lists and do not contain the unhealthy additives that you will find in many formulas produced in the United States - such as corn syrup, soy oil & sucrose!
At least 95% of all ingredients and processing aids have to be organic in order for a formula to be certified organic in Europe,. This sets the bar... and all organic formulas – in the world, should have to reach it... unfortunately North American brands do not even come close.