“Organic” Baby Food May Soon Contain Who-Knows-What

October 9, 2012

 09 Oct (Alliance for Natural Health)The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is even considering allowing genetically engineered vaccines for organic livestock. Action Alert!  The NOSB—a division of the USDA—is responsible for regulating all organic crops and determining what can be called “Certified Organic.” The board is meeting next week, and on the agenda will be whether to allow eight synthetic substances in organic baby food, primarily in organic infant formula.

The substances in question—ascorbyl palmitate, synthetic beta-carotene, a proprietary form of lutein, synthetic lycopene, synthetic l-carnitine, synthetic l-methionine, synthetic taurine, and nucleotides—all have organic alternatives, are not nutritionally necessary as additives, and might be difficult for the infant’s body to process.

In particular, ascorbyl palmitate (AP) and synthetic beta carotene are used as preservatives in infant formula to prevent them from oxidizing and becoming rancid. However, organic standards state that synthetic ingredients cannot qualify as organic if their primary purpose is as a preservative. The International Formula Council, which is trying to get them included, is hoping to sneak around the restriction by never using the word “preservative” in its justification, instead calling them “antioxidants” and saying they “prevent rancidity.” AP has no nutritional value; its sole purpose is to extend shelf life. This is the very definition of a preservative—and the opposite of an organic product. More to the point, organic alternatives exist for AP (such as rosemary extract and tocopherols) and also for synthetic beta carotene.

The NOSB background materials say “it remains inconclusive whether or not the body actually utilizes ascorbic acid that is metabolized from ascorbic palmitate,” which makes AP particularly unsuitable for infants.

A synthetic substance is never supposed to be in organic food unless (a) it is essential and (b) there is no organic alternative. None of the above substances qualify for either of the two requirements. Manufacture of this particular brand of lutein is a proprietary secret, so even the NOSB does not know if it is synthetic or not. They are thus hardly able to certify that the product is harmless!

This, however, may not mean much to the NOSB. As we reported last year, the NOSB approved synthetic ARA and DHA, both of which were genetically engineered and used toxic extraction methods.

At this board meeting, the NOSB will also discuss the use of GMO vaccines in livestock. For Certified Organic foods, GMO vaccines cannot be used unless they are specifically added to the approved list (and none has been added to date). However, there have been reports of organic farmers using them anyway, and the National Organic Program has so far been unwilling to enforce the law against them. The NOSB should demand compliance from the NOP, and ask them to review all information on vaccines to determine which are organic and which are prohibited because they are genetically engineered.

For more on this article go to Alliance for Natural Health

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