Saturday, September 20, 2008

Babies Less Important Than Business

It's not just the Chinese who sell tainted baby formula or consider their business more important than babies' health.

Over thirty years ago, when I was pregnant with our third child, I found myself watching a very upsetting television program on British TV. We were working in London at the time. It was an expose` about a big international baby formula company marketing conning poor Africans into buying their product.

The poverty-stricken, naive customers hadn't the facilities to wash and sterilize baby bottles, nor guarantee that the water added to the formula would be safe. But they saw the big healthy Europeans and Americans who sold the formula and wanted their children to be like them. But instead their children were dying of diseases caused by dirty bottles, unclean water and malnutrition when they diluted the formula too much, because they couldn't afford the quantities needed. It wasn't just hormones of my own pregnancy that made me cry so much that I had to turn off the TV.

More recently, there was a big health scandal in Israel, when it was discovered that Remedia, a large German baby formula manufacturer had "reformulated" their formula. They left out crucially important minerals, without warning. Israeli babies died and some survivors are seriously brain-damaged.

We really shouldn't trust all these chemicals, and it's also a good idea to read labels. Many "low fat" and "diet" foods are less healthy than real foods. In many cases, corn syrup, replaces eggs or milk fat. And corn syrup is much more dangerous to one's health.

I have no doubt that most babies would do better on milk, goat or cow, and natural yogurts, rather than all those chemicals. Of course that's only if the mother can't nurse the baby herself. Nothing's better for human babies than human milk.

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