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Commercial Baby Formula Kills Infant – Isn’t Your Child Worth More Than This?

This week Wal-Mart announced that baby formula was being pulled from the shelf  because it was consumed by a newborn infant which developed a fatal infection and died.

When a person dies from eating a commercial product, it’s certainly a terrible tragedy. But especially a child; not only because of the loss, but because the death could have easily been prevented if safe practices were actually used in producing food.


This story should get the attention of all parents. I’m pretty sure many will notice this story, but I don’t know that the majority will realize what’s really going on.

There’s one thing this story should tell everyone loud and clear:

Processed foods are not only unhealthy to consume, but downright deadly.

The FDA should take notice too, but I know for a fact they won’t do the responsible or ethical measure in this instance, which would be to fine and shut down the offending company who produced this product.

According to Reuters, “U.S. health regulators said on Friday they are looking at several types of baby formula that could be linked to the death of an infant, expanding an investigation beyond Mead Johnson’s market-leading Enfamil.” So what actually needs to happen is that multiple companies need to be fined and shut down.

Sadly, what will happen is that this company or companies will likely get a slap on the hand with a fine which they can easily absorb, and be allowed to continue selling products. Because that’s how the FDA rolls: they protect their own. The FDA will make an official statement about the safety of FDA-approved products on their web site and in press releases, saying that this was just a fluke, is being “taken care of”, and that other products are healthy and safe to consume.

For awhile, some parents might avoid the offending company or companies, but will continue to trust other big food companies who produce toxic formulas, and will keep buying them to feed to their babies. Until, that is, the next recall or death comes along.

Folks, this is not the first time this has happened, and I’m sorry to say it isn’t likely to be the last. In 2008, there was an incident in China with tainted baby formula. How many more incidents do we have to have before our government officials, food companies, and general public wake up to this inconvenient fact that processed foods are full of deadly ingredients that make many people sick and sometimes kill them too?

I’m here to tell you that food recall lists are miles and miles long, and they happen all the time. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Doesn’t this speak volumes about the “safest food system in the world” (quote from the FDA web site)? If, even after looking at the recall list, you still believe our food system is safe, here’s some startling statistics that will blow your socks off:

Every year there are 76 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. 

So, I ask this important question: are you really able to trust your health with these foods? How about your helpless, newborn baby?

What’s wrong with commercial formulas?

Commercial formulas are highly processed, subjected to high heat temperatures during manufacturing which corrupt fragile proteins, contain oxidized cholesterol and synthetic nutrients produced in a laboratory that your baby’s body cannot properly use, and are most often packed in cans lined in BPA – a known endocrine (hormone) disruptor.

Many so-called “hypoallergenic” formulas are made with processed soy – not traditionally fermented and contain estrogen – which are known endocrine disruptor and goitrogen (meaning it suppresses the thyroid), and contain anti-nutrients known as phytic acid which block mineral uptake and also leach minerals out of the body. Even organic formulas have some of these same issues. There has also been a chemical used to produce rocket fuel (percholate) found in baby formula!

Home made baby formula is nutritionally superior to commercial

Parents, please: if you are unable to breastfeed for any reason, and you want to be certain your infant gets what he or she really needs in the way of nutrients and support to be healthy during growth and development, take the time to make this nutrient-dense, home-made baby formula.  It includes nourishing ingredients that are comparable to or superior to breast milk in nutritional value.

When using nourishing ingredients such as raw milk, yogurt, or kefir from healthy grassfed cows or foraging goats, fermented cod liver oil, this formula is nutritionally superior to anything you can buy on the market.  Composition of the mother’s diet has a definitive effect on the nutritional profile of her breastmilk.  If mother is not eating a traditional foods diet replete with healthy fats and proteins, her milk will be nutritionally-lacking.

If you want the hard, nutritional facts, here is a side-by-side comparison of nutrient content of the original home-made formula to breast milk, as well as goat’s formula and hypo-allergenic (liver-based) formulas. Foods like raw milk and dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, sour cream, butter, and other dairy foods, grassfed meats and poultry, eggs from hens on pasture, animal fats such as tallow and lard, seafood, organ meats, cod liver oil, and fish roe (eggs) have been traditionally consumed all over the world by many cultures to improve chances of conceiving, maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and during breast-feeding.

The Weston A. Price Foundation offers recommendations on dietary choices for pregnant or nursing mothers. These recommendations are based on the work of Dr. Weston A. Price who traveled the world in the 1930s to learn why his patients were experiencing degenerative disease as well as dental deformations and tooth decay. His findings indicated that those eating the most traditional diets including the foods mentioned above were not only the healthiest populations, but also had the highest fertility and carrying-to-term pregnancy rates.

These diets provided some of the most important nutrients necessary for life and keeping disease away: fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and K2, and Omega 3 essential fatty acids. These nutrients are in short supply in their natural, unadulterated forms in our modern food system. For more information, read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price.

“But”, you may protest, “the FDA says home-made formula isn’t safe!” Right. The FDA, who are so trustworthy.

Here’s what the FDA has to say about home made formula: 

Homemade formulas should not be used.” says Nick Duy, assistant to the director in FDA ‘s division of regulatory guidance. “Homemade formulas based on whole cow’s milk don’t meet all of an infant’s vitamin and mineral needs. In addition, the high protein content of cow’s milk makes it difficult for an infant to digest and may put a strain on the baby’s immature kidneys. Substituting evaporated milk for whole milk may make formula easier to digest, but it is still nutritionally inadequate when compared to commercially prepared formula. Use of soy drinks as an infant formula can actually be life-threatening.”

Here’s the flaw in this argument:  The FDA does not mention the fact that many children are born with inadequate gut flora to properly digest and absorb the foods they eat, nor the fact those children have a dairy intolerance not because milk is inherently harmful, but because of this gut deficiency and also the fact that the majority of milk used is pasteurized and from cows on feedlots eating the worst imaginable diets, and is the most unnatural and unhealthy milk to consume.

So even if those same children consumed the “all-safe and nutritious” commercial formulas…guess what? They are still going to have problems with digesting those as well because they are not even made with real ingredients, and are loaded with toxic chemicals.

When my son was born, he was 9 weeks premature. Back then, I knew almost nothing about nutrition and I had no idea how harmful commercial formula was. My breast milk didn’t come in because of the birth being premature due to a ruptured appendix. I was incredibly sick and resorted to store-bought formula. We went through every brand you could imagine, including soy because my son was always discontent, fussy, and had terrible colic.

Looking back, I now know his issues were due to poor gut flora and the fact that he was severely malnourished.  People kept telling me he was getting what he needed, despite the fact that he didn’t eat well and had picky eating habits. It wasn’t because he had “colic”, a term frequently used by conventional doctors who usually don’t understand what causes colic in the first place. It was abnormal gut flora which caused him to want the very foods which he shouldn’t have, and reject those which were healthy.

Remarks made about evaporated milk and soy milk are true – they are most definitely inadequate nutritionally – but as far as saying they are not as nutritious as commercial formula, they are actually just as bad or worse.

“But”, you may protest yet again, “the FDA says raw milk isn’t safe for babies to consume!”

Here’s the flaw in this argument: there is no basis for this statement. People drank raw milk for thousands upon thousands of years, and fed it to their babies. Raw milk from healthy cows on pasture has always been and still is a life-giving food, and contains many nutrients, probiotics, enzymes, and proteins which prevent disease and illness. These are nutrients and elements which we are sorely lacking in our “safe” commercial and industrial food system. It’s a system which kills nutrients in food by its very practices each and every day due to filthy conditions, the use of antibiotics, high-heat, deodorization, alkalinization, sanitizing, irradiation, and many other harsh, chemical, and toxic practices.

Using government statistics which reveal that there is only an average of 42 illnesses per year (not deaths) by those who consume raw milk, you are “about 35,000 times more likely to become ill from other foods than you are from raw milk.”  Once again, remember that statistic I posted earlier:

Every year there are 76 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. 

These and other sicknesses and deaths are not coming from raw milk from healthy cows on pasture. They are from cows on feedlots, and our industrial food system! Don’t believe me? Just reference the food recall list and you’ll find these are from larger, commercial facilities…not small, sustainable, family farms.

What’s the bottom line?

Don’t put your trust in big food companies, and don’t believe the marketing or studies paid for by these companies to say their products are healthy, nor the corrupt medical establishment and government which backs them up.  Cheap, toxic foods are never a good substitute for real, whole foods that deliver nutrition and heal our health, and our children’s future depends on this safe, reliable food system. Buy local, sustainable foods from farmers you trust, and be willing to cook and make meals from scratch.

More information about our food system: 

Food recalls – why they could mean the end of real food as we know it

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of  industrial food

1 in 4 meat packages tainted with pathogenic bacteria 

16 replies on “Commercial Baby Formula Kills Infant – Isn’t Your Child Worth More Than This?”

In fairness, all the cans of formula in the batch tested negative for bacteria. The formula may still have been the cause, but it is just as likely that it was a dirty pacifier or bottle, or something the baby had put in his mouth.

ALL formula, even if it’s supposedly sterile (which powdered formula is not) should be heated to boiling to sterilize it. Most people don’t because it’s a huge hassle. But it’s the safe option if you are going to be using formula.

Not sure what the appropriate measures are for the WAPF formula because it contains live cultures. All I can say is, be aware that it is nonsterile.

Sheila – Just because something is “sterile” is meaningless. If the baby had been exposed to some other bacteria not from the formula, if it had been given a nourishing diet with live enzymes and nutrients, it would have stood a much stronger chance of surviving the bacteria and may have lived. As it is, when a baby is subsisting on formula, there are no viable, live nutrients being taken in and the baby’s body and immune system are so weakened, it doesn’t stand a chance against a virulent bacteria that may come along. So it could even be construed that its poor diet of commercial formula contributed to its death either way.

What about hospital environments? They are supposed to be sterile, and look at how many hospital deaths there are annually:

180,000 per year. That’s much, much higher than the 42 annual who are sickened by raw milk (not deaths).

Also, it’s important to consider all the other foods on the market which are considered “safe” and even “sterile” which are getting recalled. Clearly, this is not about sterility. Our bodies need diverse bacteria to be healthy. When our bodies don’t have adequate healthy bacteria, that’s when our digestion and immunity fail, and we get sick. In our modern food system, all bacteria is wiped out, including the good, leaving plenty of room for bad bacteria to take over. If you have to heat something to boiling just to “sterilize” it or make it safe to eat it, you are destroying any nutrients or bacteria. As in keeping with the way formula is manufactured, they make sure everything is killed right in the factory since formula is subjected to high heat temps. Also, keep in mind that the ingredients included in formula are toxic and could easily be the cause of sickness or death, whether they are “sterile” or not.

You’re right, the WAP formula ingredients aren’t sterile,and they shouldn’t be. As I stated, raw milk and other live foods have their own friendly bacteria which keeps any bad bacteria in check, and nourishes the body to enable it to stay healthy so it can fight off illness. Live cultures maintain the integrity of the food – ancient people knew this and that’s why they consumed these foods. They understood the value of its existence to maintaining health. When we make everything sterile, that’s when life ceases to exist. In modern society we’ve forgotten this important tenet of health and well-being. We try to sterilize everything and then wonder why superbugs develop from which we have no protection. Not even the strongest medications nor antibiotics on the market can save us from these monsters. We’ve dismantled our real, natural system of health with all these substances and constructs in place to rid ourselves of bacteria, which we should not be afraid of.

As Nina Planck talks about in her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why, soil where food is grown is never sterile. Monoculture and cropping destroy bacteria in soil and then the result is unhealthy soil that is susceptible to disease, weeds, and pests. Soil is where our food comes from, and healthy specimens should be full of diverse bacteria which supports life.

Wow, great post, Raine. Never knew about colic before. If I had to consume processed formula everyday I’d be screaming and fussy, too. Your definitely right on with mentioning that theres far more foodborne diseases from processed food than raw, real foods.

Kelli – thanks for your comments, as always. After seeing so many babies with colic, it started making sense to me because I noticed that most colicky babies I knew were either breastfeeding from mothers who had poor diets, or were consuming commercial formula, and now I’ve seen numerous babies on breastmilk from mothers who eat traditional diets and heard many stories from other parents about how settled, content, and healthy their babies are. It’s so easy to see the connection between diet and behavior and well-being, but our culture is so conditioned to believe all the lies taught by conventional doctors, dietitians, and other health professionals, we can’t see that the solutions are actually right in front of our faces and pretty simple.

The harm that has been done by artificial food is beyond calculation. I will never understand why people use products like these, instead of real food.

I wonder how many people understand that we need bacteria to live, and if all the bacteria in our bodies were killed, we would all die.

I think the WAPF formula is terrific, and I just cannot even begin to understand why people trust chemical foods.

Thank you Raine, for your clear and concise explanation of this most important issue.

To quote Stanley Fishman from above: “I wonder how many people understand that we need bacteria to live, and if all the bacteria in our bodies were killed, we would all die.”

I think very few people understand this concept. I thought, at first, it was mostly young people who didn’t grasp this but many, many older folks don’t get it either. Some of the conversations we have after church services are hair raising to me, because people are so ignorant. They are ignorant, I have come to the conclusion, because they listen to their doctors. They GO to their doctor for nutritional advice. I’ve tried, on many occasions, to educate people and give them lists of links to check out, but I don’t think they ever do. Few understand good and bad bacteria. To them, all bacteria must be bad.

One lady told me her doctor went ballistic when she told him she started using real butter again. He gave her the usual song and dance about cholesterol. I dragged her home with me, literally, and showed her several books and links to support the fact that cholesterol is NOT the enemy the doctors make people think it is. Don’t know if I’ve convinced her or not, but I told her to fire her doctor and find one who truly understands choletserol , foods and bacteria.

I’m beginning to think most babies should be fed raw goat milk as a first food. As you stated above, if the mother’s diet is lacking, so will the breastmilk be lacking. Just because milk comes from a breast doesn’t mean it’s more healthful by virtue of “magical qualities” or something.

I provide infant day care. Some of the breastmilk I’ve seen in the past 10 years leads me to believe the mother’s are more malnourished than ever before in history. There isn’t an ounce of yellowy-fatty stuff layered at the top of the milk like there was when I breastfed my three babies 20-30 years ago. Most of the breastmilk today looks even worse than skim milk. Several of my day care ladies are vegetarians, too boot, and their milk is more like water.

It’s so sad and I really do try to tactfully educate them, but no one listens. I have recommended some good reading for them (like Nina Planck’s books) but I doubt they ever read it. They either don’t care or they don’t make the time. They do, however, have time to be messing with their iphones nearly constantly. I now have a rule in my day care – when parents come in to pick up their babies, they must leave their phones in the car. If they ask me how their baby did during the day, I’m not going to talk to them unless I have their full attention. I do the same thing when my kids come to visit. If they truly want to visit me, the phones stay in the car or don’t bother to stop at my house because it’s a waste of time for both of us.

Deb – you are so right, even when mothers actually DO breastfeed their children, their diets are so lacking from not having real, nutrient-dense foods that their babies’ immune systems and bodies don’t get the nutritional support they need. You can breast feed all you want, but if you aren’t eating a nutrient-rich diet, it’s really not going to do much good. I agree that goat’s milk can be a great addition to any home-made formula and/or nutrient-rich food for any infant, whether it’s breast fed or not. Although many infants now have food sensitivities and allergies, even some to goat’s milk (although not as common as cow’s milk).

Any milk consumed should be real, raw, and from grass-fed cows or goats without hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, or GMO-supplemented feed.

Nina Plank’s books and articles are wonderful, and very wise. I hope more parents read them and take them seriously. I think parents do care, but they have been so brain-washed and conditioned to believe mainstream health advice, they think this sort of thing is all hogwash and probably false. It takes some exposure and education, and also for many parents, getting to the end of their rope with their children’s health issues and finally out of desperation, trying something else.

And still, many parents won’t see the light until they are forced to because the realize something else must be done for their children’s health issues besides medication and other conventional applications. Hopefully as these things become more visible in health communities and parents talk, the information will get into parent’s consciousness and they will start to make changes slowly but surely. Some parents make changes overnight due to chronic and debilitating health issues which are becoming more common, but for most, it’s slowly integrating things they hear which are very different from what they’ve learned from conventional health. It does take time, but it can be done. 🙂

I do not know much about this topic, but I think it relates to the present political mood. So many politicians are decrying the evils of regulation and how they are deleterious to business. Very few are explaining that yes, maybe some regulations are bad for business, BUT they are good for consumers. When a business creates a dangerous product, regulation should catch that and the business should be punished. It will be bad for business, but good for all us consumers that don’t have to find out a product is dangerous by trail and error or word of mouth.

Megan – yes, it’s true. Everything is about political maneuvering and money now, and the food industry is no exception. But even though we have regulations, still, they aren’t being observed. It always annoys me to see regulators claiming that if regulations were stepped up, we’d finally have a safe food system. But no one seems to address or acknowledge the real problem – which is: how the food is produced. This is the crux, and until we solve the problems in food growing and production, we’l continue to have toxic products on the shelves and the companies who manufacture them. Quite sickening. And you’re quite right, businesses who violate rules and regulations should be punished. But all that happens is that the businesses who have the most capital survive because they can pay fines and go on their way, free to continue committing the same transgressions over and over again. Same story ,different day.

My little boy just turned one last week. He never learned to latch properly, so I pumped (and still am pumping) breastmilk, but was only at full supply for about 6 weeks before my supply started to drop again. Raw milk was illegal where we lived and grass-fed liver and some other things needed for the homemade formulas just were not available. Add to that a very, very slow recovery from c-section, my husband’s retirement after 20 years in the Marine Corps, and a move out of state, and we had no energy, time, space, money, or access to ingredients to make the homemade formulas. We ended up using Earth’s Best organic formula to supplement. There is a big difference between it and the other formulas- the formulation, color, and the smell are all better. We added a small amount of either butter or coconut oil to his formula supplements, as well as probiotics. My milk is high-quality- it has the color of Kerrygold butter and forms a THICK layer of fat at the top….I just don’t produce enough, and I have slow let-down and have gone through four pumps in a year. Now he usually gets a combination of grass-fed goat’s milk, cow’s milk (both pasteurized, the cow’s milk is not homogonized), and a small splash of cream, usually grass-fed, with probiotics added, When we have no money, or the health store is out of the grass-fed milk, he ends up getting grocery store milk. He gets as much breast milk that I can still produce (which isn’t much…the pump is dying again, making my supply drop.) We can’t afford raw milk, which is like $8/gallon (averaged, through a cow-share…. we haven’t had hundreds of dollars at once to be able to start one, plus buy our own glass bottles to collect it in, plus gas and time for an hour trip each way to get the milk.) He does get pastured eggs, grass-fed liver and beef, whole milk yogurt, coconut oil, kerrygold butter, and mostly organic vegetables. It’s been the best our budget and situation have allowed.

Davida – wow, it sounds like your little boy is getting a great start. Many parents don’t know about feeding their children the quality foods you are getting for your son. You can only do what you can do, and I think you are doing a great job, especially considering the budget constraints you are under.

I wish more parents knew about the types of foods you are using. If I had to do it over again, I would have given my son those same things when he was an infant and the years preceding. I didn’t know about raw milk or the other foods in your list back then, but since I discovered them about 7 years ago, we’ve been doing the pastured eggs, coconut oil, Kerrygold Butter, and probiotics, as well as other foods like grass-fed meats and poultry, and organ meats when we can.

That’s what we strive for…. sometimes it ends up with us getting all our food at walmart or the commissary. Or I get tired of trying to cook in our TINY kitchen, or cooking the SAME THINGS over and over because the only cuts of grass-fed meat we usually can afford are liver and ground beef, or just tired (4 people in college full time, including me, husband working full time, and the one year old). So we end up at Firehouse subs or my favorite local pizza place for calzones. Bacon is not pastured. All the more natural brands are thick cut, and I can NOT seem to cook thick bacon, no matter cheap or expensive or preserved or natural, without ruining it, and I don’t like spending that much on a food I know I am going to ruin. When I was pregnant I practically lived on Burger King (whopper, no bun, no lettuce) and goat cheese (I have NO idea why I craved these foods, but when I ate them I was happy and energetic. Pregnancy… go figure. lol) Easter dinner is chicken tacos (well, no tortilla for me, so chicken bowl!) with grocery store chicken. To be honest, if we ate EVERYTHING perfect, I’d be an insane woman, because I’d never be able to leave the house… we wouldn’t have the gas money to go ANYWHERE. So we have to make trade-offs, for sanity’s sake. :/

When I had my baby eight weeks premature, the hospital sent us home supplementing my breastmilk with similac so baby would gain weight adequately. Once he got on track with his weight, I cut it out and just fed him pumped breastmilk (he won’t breastfeed directly anymore, we’ve tried everything). But as he needed more milk, I had to go back to the formula and make his bottles half milk and half formula. My gosh, did I feel guilty doing that, but he had to eat! I took to the internet for a better way and found the weston a price baby formula recipe. Fortunately he was only on the commercial formula for about a month. Now I feel good making the baby formula for him, and still putting in at least one third to half of breastmilk in every bottle, depending on how much I have pumped. I consider myself young, but I am studying nutrition. It’s something I’ve done on my own as much of the conventional wisdom, the pediatrician for example, is wrong or incomplete. Obviously we are all still learning all the time. But really this is not a problem of the young. It’s a problem with people who want to think for themselves verses the ones who want to take the easy way out. Also, we are not rich! It is hard financially sometimes, and takes a lot of time, to do this for my whole family. But you can get the prices of the ingredients in the WAPF formula and break it down into a cost per ounce. I have found the cheapest store bought formula is $22 for 40 ounces, and the WAPF baby formula recipe if $3.25 per 36 ounces. One more note, since baby has been fully off commercial formula his poop has gone from a blueish green brown (reminded me of a spirulina facial mask) really dark watery consistency to yellow paste-like, a lot more like breastfed baby poop. (Excuse my frank use of the word poop, but we change a lot of diapers around here :0)

Hi Rebecca – great testimonial! Thanks for sharing your experience. I definitely don’t have any hang ups about the word “poop”, I find that with all my conversations about health it gets used quite frequently. 🙂 Thanks also for sharing your price breakdown of the home-made versus the commercial bought. Even though the home-made is more expensive, you are getting something real for your money; whereas with the commercial formula, you are spending a lot and getting no nutrition and toxins on top of that. Why pay any amount for toxins? Doesn’t make sense to me.

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