The International Conference on Lactoferrin, probiotics and Medela in Africa

photo by Jessie McClain

The concluding remarks of Dr. Tony Schryvers at the 8th Conference on Lactoferrin, "Finally with bovine lactoferrin widely available through the dairy industry of a number of countries and with human lactoferrin available from transgenic rice, transgenic cows and fungal expression interest in its application is growing rapidly."

According to Bo Lonnerdal, who has organized the Lactoferrin Conferences, bovines (cows) have little to no lactoferrin. At least that is what he stated to the media some years ago. The FDA does not recognize the term "bovine lactoferrin" instead calling it "milk lactoferrin." So one finds oneself wondering how they are producing all this "bovine lactoferrin?" From the statements made at this Conference, human lactoferrin is genetically engineered through various approaches all involving genetic modifications. At this Conference they all state, "Recently, lactoferrin has been introduced into infant formula because of its potential health effects as we know." The belief seems to be that the real component is identical or somewhat identical to their genetically modified versions. So does the public understand that within infant formula are genetically modified human milk components? Obviously acceptable by the FDA and no need to let the public know what's in that can of infant formula. The Lactoferrin Conference was sponsored in 2007 by Biopole, DMV, Four Leaf, Pharming, Tatua, Armor proteines, Belgo-milk, Friesland Foods, Jarrow, Morinaga, etc. see

Next conference in Beijing, China.

Dated October 19, 2004; "Fonterra taps into Asia's appetite for lactoferrin
"Lactoferrin will be to the dairy industry what aspirin has been to the pharmaceutical industry..."

"Lactoferrin is in demand because of its nutritional and immune-enhancing properties as an ingredient in a range of products. These include infant formula, yoghurts and speciality nutritional formulations. It can even be used as an additive in fresh milk to extend shelf life."

Long live lactoferrin!!! What women make, men take.....

In February 2006,, "Puleva Biotech's human milk probiotic debuts in Spain." Lactobacillus gasseri from human milk. "Results suggest that bacteria in breast milk could be a natural probiotic for newborns. Moreover there is a strong possibility that the strains could be used in products aimed at adults." "The probiotics market could increase as much as threefold this decade, to be worth $137.9 million in Europe in 2010 and $394 million in the US."

Long live probiotics!!! What women make, men take....

Last but not least, let's discuss Medela (the breast pump company) in Africa. A foundation called "Working to Advance African Women," is partnered with Medela. Partnered might not be the right word, but Medela breast pump products are sold to help finance the foundation. I gather it is somewhat similiar to how La Leche League got involved with Medela years ago. Of course, I am not sure I understand how well the selling of the breast pump culture to African nations will be beneficial. It kinda of reminds me of the infant formula industry in Africa. How do poor women in Africa benefit from this technology? How do you clean a pump, or refrigerate your milk when you live in poverty? Even in the USA, this is an issue. When I worked in the WIC Program I worked with moms who lived in their cars. They had difficulties taking a shower and keeping their babies clean. So exactly how would a pump help them??? Breastfeeding, actually keeping the baby at the breast, was the safest solution. Technology transferred into areas of poverty often does not work. Yet Medela is poised to enter into areas of extreme poverty and high infant mortality rates with their solutions. Is this a solution for women in Africa, particularly in areas of poverty? Does economic survival for women and their babies depend upon separation? Is it dependent upon the technology of pumps, the commodification of human milk? Why are we exporting this kind of culture to Africa?

Why are women in the dark about the value of breastfeeding? Is it because men of industry, men of science have mammary envy? Why imitate the mammary gland, why use the cells in cultures, in cloning, in genetic engineering? Our esteemed men of science called the first sheep cloned, Dolly. Why? Because they used a mammary cell in cloning the sheep and it reminded them of a well-known human female known for her mammary cells (Dolly Parton). I read this in a news article...those research scientists have a sense of humor.....depending on your perspective.
Copyright 2009 Valerie W. McClain

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