I am one of those consumers that assumes USDA certification means more than just growing foods without pesticides and herbicides. I assume that it includes ethical treatment of animals and zero genetically-modified organism (GMO) ingredients. I know these assumptions are just that, and the latest news from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) confirms it.
There are frankenfoods in organic baby food!
The OCA explains:
In 2009, a front page Washington Post article,“Integrity of Federal ‘Organic’ Label Questioned.”explained how Martek Biosciences’ synthetic DHA and ARA ended up in organic infant formula. In 2006, National Organic Program staff told Martek that its synthetic DHA and ARA couldn’t be used in organic because they were synthetic and not on the National List. But, Martek’s lawyer, J. Friedman, was able to get their decision reversed by NOP director Barbara Robinson, with just a call and an email. He told the Washington Post, “I called Robinson up, I wrote an e-mail. It was a simple matter.”…
The National Organic Program attempted to remedy this situation by requiring Martek to formally ask permission to use its DHA and AHA in organic. The petition came before National Organic Standards board, and surprisingly, the NOSB voted to continue to allow Life’sDHA and Life’sARA in organic.
The NOP and NOSB ignored evidence that Martek’s products should never have even been considered for use in organic in the first place. According to patents uncovered by the Cornucopia Institute, all of Martek’s DHA and ARA products are produced through genetic engineering, processed with volatile synthetic solvents and microencapsulated, three things that are expressly banned from USDA Organic.
You can protect your baby by making your own baby food or looking for food that does not contain DHA and ARA. DHA and ARA are important omega fatty acids found in breast milk, so long term breastfeeding insures your child gets them. The Cornucopia Institute explains how the chemical version cannot replace mother’s milk:
What is troublesome, however, is that some infant for- mulas contain DHA- and ARA-containing oils that are novel foods—extracted from laboratory-grown fermented algae and fungus and processed utilizing a toxic chemical, hexane. These algal and fungal oils provide DHA and ARA in forms that are structurally different from those naturally found in human milk…
These oils are produced by Martek Biosciences Corpora- tion and appear to be added to infant formula primarily as a marketing tool designed to convince parents that formula is now “as close as ever to breast milk.” Substantiating this the- sis is a Martek investment promotion from 1996, which reads as follows: “Even if [the DHA/ARA blend] has no benefit, we think it would be widely incorporated into formulas, as a market- ing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as ‘closest to human milk [emphasis added].”1