It sometimes is challenging to find straight-forward, science-based information related to infant formula, its nutritional efficacy and safety. We believe it’s important to provide accurate and unbiased information in order to help separate fact from fiction. Below, we’ve put together answers to some of the most common misconceptions related to formula. If you wish to ask us about any questions, please see our Contact Us page.
The health and safety of our consumers is and always has been our highest priority.
Parents can be completely confident that infant formula containing biotech ingredients is safe for consumption. There is a large body of scientific evidence supporting the safety of foods produced through biotechnology. In contrast, there is absolutely no credible research that suggests foods produced through biotechnology cause negative health effects for those who consume them – including infants. Ignoring proven science and improperly implying that foods with ingredients derived from biotechnology are somehow unhealthy only serves to needlessly confuse and concern parents who only want the best for their children.
A broad range of regulatory agencies, scientists, and health professionals, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization, have reviewed the extensive body of scientific evidence and agree that foods and ingredients produced through biotechnology are completely safe for adults and children – including infants – to consume. In its most recent clinical report in this area, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes, “Nutritional differences between organic and conventional produce appear minimal…no direct evidence of a clinically relevant nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce exists.” In addition, the American Medical Association has stated bioengineered foods have been consumed for nearly 20 years and “during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.”
Infant formulas are among the most highly regulated foods in the world. Likewise, biotechnology products in the United States are regulated more strictly than any other agricultural or food product in history. In all markets, we carefully adhere to all government and health authority rules and regulations – in addition to our own very stringent Mead Johnson standards. This comprehensive and thorough oversight provides extra protection for the safety of all ingredients used in our infant formulas and toddler products.
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Mead Johnson does not add table sugar to any of its infant formulas. Similar to breast milk, most of our milk-based formulas contain a carbohydrate called lactose, and sugar is a naturally-occurring component in lactose. Our infant formulas are designed to provide a level of carbohydrate similar to the level of carbohydrate in breast milk. In our lactose-free formulas, corn syrup solids are often used to replace lactose as a carbohydrate source because they result in a formula with a carbohydrate level, taste and tolerance similar to human milk. Corn syrup solids are NOT the same as corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup have a sweet taste because they contain fructose. They are not intended for infants and are not used in our infant formula products.
Childhood obesity is a complex issue and many factors – including caloric intake, physical activity and genetics – are involved in maintaining a healthy weight. An extensive body of research shows no direct cause and effect relationship between infant feeding and obesity. Specifically, no studies have shown that breastfeeding prevents obesity or, conversely, that feeding infant formula causes obesity. In fact, the largest study to date examining breastfeeding and its influence on adult weight status found that women who were breastfed did not have lower incidence of overweight or obesity in adulthood when compared to women who were not breastfed.
Mead Johnson is committed to promoting breastfeeding, and we've never seen any evidence that our marketing practices discourage it. We also recognize that – for a variety of reasons – some mothers cannot breastfeed or chose not to, or choose to supplement or discontinue breastfeeding at some point. In those situations, the only recognized, safe alternative to breast milk is iron-fortified infant formula.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors infant formula products as part of its responsibility. The agency conducts yearly inspections of all facilities that manufacture infant formula, and collects and analyzes product samples. The FDA also inspects new facilities.
In addition to FDA monitoring, Mead Johnson is committed to using the most stringent manufacturing, packaging and quality assurance procedures in order to continue to provide safe, high-quality and beneficial products to nourish children for the best start in life. No product is released if it does not meet our rigorous standards for safety and quality.
A representative number of samples from every batch we produce are tested to ensure the product meets our stringent quality specifications and samples of every batch we produce are retained as an extra measure of safety.
For more information, please see: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048694.htm