Thursday

Black box warning



Wyeth has a recent patent that is about the need to reduce the adverse effects of infant formula by 20-50%. So why don't we have a black box warning on cans of infant formula?? "The Surgeon General's Warning: Infant formula feeding is hazardous to a baby's health. It may cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, disease, cancer, and death." The industry has been trying for years to correct all their mistakes by new and improved formulations, yet we still have a product that is risky. And now we have the added unknown risks of genetically engineered infant formulas. We still have a general public that believes in the safety of this product. Why for heaven sakes do mothers have to have a prescription for donor milk but mothers don't need a prescription to buy infant formula? Why aren't mothers being adequately warned of the risks? Why do breastfeeding advocates skirt this issue? They skirt the issue by calling the risks of infant formula, the risks of not breastfeeding. Heaven forbid we address this issue head-on, we might offend someone. No one seems to be afraid of offending smokers--"smoking kills." Hey, I know smokers and they are perfectly healthy. This is a democracy, smokers have rights. It's a free country. All these issues and more, and yet at some point in time, most people began to understand the health risks of smoking. Why is formula-feeding any different? Why do we accept the ill health and death of formula-fed infants? I also wonder why we are accepting of the high infant mortality rate of our black infants in this country? Shouldn't we be up in arms about this? Genetics, my blankety-blank....no this is about poverty and lack of information caused by discrimination. Society makes its choices. This society has chosen to reward the pharmaceutical/infant formula/dairy industries. No questions asked. These industries wage a public relations game that muddles the picture. Add to this, human milk researchers who are paid by industry, yet clearly support breastfeeding. How much of our research on infant feeding is politicized? How much is white-washed to not offend? Isn't it time we had a black box label on infant formula?
Copyright 2010 Valerie W. McClain

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