The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The NOSB is responsible for regulating all organic crops and determining what can be called “Certified Organic.”
The board is determining if it will allow eight synthetic substances in organic baby food, primarily in organic infant formula and is even considering allowing genetically engineered vaccines for organic livestock.
What a shame it is when our government officials that are supposed to be protecting the health, safety and welfare of all Americans, especially our babies, are considering misleading the American public into thinking that this is a "good thing"!
The substances in question are ascorbyl palmitate, synthetic beta-carotene, a proprietary form of lutein, synthetic lycopene, synthetic l-carnitine, synthetic l-methionine, synthetic taurine, and nucleotides. All of these are non-essential ingredients and have organic alternatives,. They are not nutritionally necessary as additives and might be difficult for the infant’s body to process.
Organic standards state that synthetic ingredients cannot qualify as organic if their primary purpose is as a preservative. The International Formula Council is trying to circumvent this restriction by calling the preservative ascorbyl palmitate an antioxidant and saying it prevents rancidity. It has no nutritional value and its sole purpose is to extend shelf life. This is the very definition of a preservative. Organic rosemary extract could be used instead.
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.
The NOSB has already approved synthetic essential fatty acids ARA and DHA, which were genetically engineered and produced using toxic extraction methods.
The New York Times reports that more than 250 nonorganic substances have been added to the list of allowed substances in organic foods, up from 77 in 2002.
It is sad that the vast majority of organic brands are actually owned by big food companies. There are only a limited number of independent organic brands still around. Some of these major corporations have seats on the NOSB, which is a clear conflict of interest. It is no surprise that they are the biggest advocates for allowing synthetics.
Three seats on the board are designated for consumer advocates, but they have never been filled from traditional advocacy groups, instead going to corporate executives.
You now have to read the ingredient list on all labels, even organic! The best choice is to make your own organic baby food, but that is time consuming.
For more information:
Organic Baby Food Recipes: