Tuesday

Endangered species: the suckling mammal


Suckling mammal sounds like a song or a poem written by a biotech engineer during a lull in watching his petri dish or his micro scope. I thought mammals were animals that nursed their young. So suckling mammals is rather redundant. On the other hand, we do have non-suckling mammals. We have created them. We have infant formula for kittens and puppies because well, you know....they really don't want to do that, that, that primitive, instinctual stuff. Actually many female dogs and cats are prone to not enough milk. And well they prefer a choice. Liberation from mammalian captivity, just ask Nestle's Purina....
Silly me. See what happens when ya read infant formula patents. The words, suckling mammal, snared my mind and danced upon my funny bone. Before I knew it, I had to write it. I thought about my Neeko, my cat who nursed her babies until they were bigger than her. For shame, Neeko, nursing your big baby-children. Neeko hasn't negotiated the grocery store aisle and seen the great kitten formulas--even has DHA and ARA. She does watch TV and stares at the computer screen. So she could be a well-informed consumer. Instead, she seems caught up in grooming and nursing her babies...and chasing anoles and biting their heads off and leaving them at the front door. She shares unlike the dog, who eats everything in sight. Now he got the canned puppy milk cause he became an orphan at an early age. We call him Fat Boy, the not-so-lean eating machine.
Silly me. Sidetracked again by the animal farm in my house. Let's get down to the nuts and bolts of the suckling mammal. "There is a need for a nutrient for the manufacture of a nutritional composition for suckling mammals which promotes an intestinal flora pattern similar to the one present in mammals fed by their mother." Thank you Nestec (Nestle). That is patent # 7666830 called "Nutritional composition preventing bacterial overgrowth." Now the grand entrance of the miracle component, a protein hydrolzate. Don't ask, I don't know, and don't care to know about their miracle. It is suppose to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis and septicemia. Obviously, previous infant formulas have failed to prevent these bacterial diseases. Of course, the suckling mammal doesn't seem to have this problem. But where oh where is the suckling mammal?? Please Nestle, tell me where is the suckling mammal?? Endangered species??
Wyeth has a better patent called, "Methods for reducing adverse effects of feeding formula to infants," patent #7651716 published this January of 2010. They are going to reduce the side effects of their infant formula by 20-50%. Ask me how? They are going to make it more like human milk by increasing the levels of alpha-lactalbumin and tryptophan. Ya didn't know that infant formula had side effects did ya? Not written on the can. Of course, I haven't bought infant formula since......1982 and if I had only known then what I know now. But back then it was the new and improved SMA and we had heard by good authorities (medical, I believe) that this was a safe formula. The child now adult survived but as a baby she threw alot of that stuff up. It was the inspiration to relactate and it did set me on the road to breastfeeding advocacy. So thank you Wyeth.
The nonsuckling mammal needs arachidonic acid or so they say. Yeah, you remember the ARA to the DHA, the essential long-chain polyunsturated fatty acid? This is from Martek Bioscience (they have a bunch of these patents on DHA and ARA). This one is called, "Method for production of arachidonic acid," patent #7666657. Their goal is to produce the amount of arachidonic acid that "approximates the concentration of human milk." Once again, Martek touches the touchy subject of genetic engineering this component. "It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that mutant microorganisms of the present invention also include arachidonic acid-producing microorganisms that can be obtained by genetically-engineering microorganisms to produce increased amounts of arachidonic acid." They have been writing similiar statements since 1992 in their patents on DHA and ARA. This is a company that was founded by genetic engineers but interestingly enough they say they are not genetically engineering DHA and ARA. What should the consumer believe? That these substances are just algae and fungi that hang out in the ocean or under some log? And yes we will give it to the nonsuckling mammal. We do have bolder companies regarding the production of arachidonic acid for infant formula. E.I. du Pont de Nemours (patent # 7588931 called, "High arachidonic acid producing strains of Yarrowia liploytica) just states they will be using a "recombinant" oleginous Yarrowia yeast cell for the production of arachindonic acid and the primary purpose of doing that is for infant formula. Recombinant is something genetically engineered. Why are we doing this? Because the suckling mammal is an endangered species.
Copyright 2010 Valerie W. McClain

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