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Thread: Please Contact The Baby Food Companies re 4 Month Labelling

  1. #19
    paradise lost Guest

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    The question is... why do baby food companies seem to think babies need food from 4 months old?
    Because despite the allergy correlation studies and WHO recommendations (which i believe in this specific case were based on expert opinion rather than systematic evidence-based study review, which is in fact against the WHO's OWN recommendations on how OTHERS should make recommendations) there actually hasn't been overwhelming evidence that giving babies in developed countries solids before six months causes problems in the vast majority. For the few babies with allergies in their families not giving solids MIGHT help reduce their risk factors, but not for all - it isn't direct cause and effect. The recommendation was actually aimed more at the undeveloped world where the water supply and poor quality nutrition means younger babies are at serious risk of illness and/or death the younger they are given food that is not breastmilk. The last study i saw (done in 2000 i think) found that babies in North Africa were on average breastfed for 19 months and offered solids from 4.3months.



    There is always a cost benefit balance with government and big business. Those governments which have decided to encourage mothers to follow the BF to six months recommendation have mainly forced FF companies to cease advertising their infant formula (but NOT the follow on formula) to this aim, but big business pay ALOT of taxes, and the government won't anger those companies when they don't have to. If mothers know the WHO recommendation they will not offer solids before 6 months, thus they will not force the companies to change their packaging.

    It also comes down to accountability and responsibility. So far NO-ONE has managed to win a court case against a baby food company for harm caused to an infant by being fed solids before 6 months of age. The link isn't strong enough to stand up in court.

  2. #20

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    The thing is Bec that there have been numerous studies now and no benefits have ever been found to be associated with the early introduction of solids - except for the baby food companies.
    The problems with introducing solids too early aren't just that it's associated with increased risk of a range of allergies. It can also cause nutritional deficiencies in cases where solids replace too many milk feeds and encourage over-eating leading to increased risk of obesity.
    It's not just WHO that recomends delaying the introduction of solids. All the state governments in Australia, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Pediatrics (to name just a few) also recomend delaying the introduction of solids until 6 months.

  3. #21

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    Point taken about the WHO. Thanks for pointing that out..but i still feel that as long as my dietitians(and other independent health professionals) recommend bubs start solids at 6 mths(and as Dach said, it definitely doesn't cause harm to delay them until then), my company will recommend our first foods for 6 mths+. This seems to be a very touchy subject, but i don't ever want to be seen as putting profits before bubs health. I guess that the big players in the industry don't see it this way, and probably have their reasons for putting 4m+, but at our recent product launch it was terrifying to see how many parents(i'd say at least 75%) thought bubs started solids at 4 mths..i believe this labelling has alot to do with that, as there clearly is not enough education out there targeted to the majority of parents..

  4. #22

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    hmm touchy subject..

    to be honest i don't think its heinz's problem, from what i understand they are just saying that its Suitable from 4 months not that you should start from 4 months. its a company out to make money its not an organisation or anything.

    It seems to me that all babies are different. some babies may be ready and need food earlier than 6 months and some i think are not ready for anything when they do get to 6 months.

    My son is a healthy baby, when he was 4.5 months he would scream when we ate anything and was reaching for our food. (he has sat at the dinner table with us almost every night since birth), he was unsetled, and wanting to drink too much milk more than ever recomended for such a young baby, the diatition actually said that the amount he wanted could affect his kidneys as they couldn't process so much, anyway before giving any food i actually took him to our diatition and 2 different community nurses all recomended me giving him food. he ate with no problems at all, and was a much happier baby.
    with my twins i will BF as long as i can if they need food before, on or after the 6 month mark i will judge as individuals and give them what they need.

    I think some people are too quick to judge parents who decide to feed early. i will never believe that feeding early can lead to obesidy both my sister and i were fed at 4 months (as people did in the 70's) and we are both healthy people. i think its more what we feed our babies not when that is more important.

  5. #23

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    I didn't really start this thread as a place to debate the relative merits of starting solids at differant ages. If you disagree with WHO and the body of scientific research then so be it. It doesn't affect me and you can simply choose not to write to any baby food companies.
    If like me you choose to follow WHO recomendations and would like to see ethical labelling then please write to the companies involved and add the contact details of any other companies you see who label their food incorrectly.
    And maybe send an email to anyone you think might be interested.

    One person can teach ten, ten people can teach a hundred, a hundred people can teach a thousand, a thousand can teach ten thousand. Sun Tzu

  6. #24

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    Kristy, having the labels changed to say "from 6 months" doesn't stop people from giving solids earlier. The problem with the labelling now, is that many people don't know the WHO and AMA recommendations and rely on the labels to decide when to give solids. I have read posts on here from mums who have started solids early but said "but it's ok, I only used the ones that said they were ok from 4 months".

    It is ridiculous for a goverment to support the recommendations of leading medical bodies around the world, but then allow companies to make money from labelling which is totally against those recommendations.

    Can I also please reiterate Chloe's request to keep the posts on topic. Any further posts which are OT will be removed. This thread is not the place for a debate.

  7. #25

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    Such a good topic and me too i was silly enough to believe these companys when i was a first time mum too.

    Another topic that i am really passionate about is not just when we choose to introduce solids but what sort of garbage do they actually put in this food we are shovelling down our childrens necks. Is it good wholesome food WITH preservatives and additives (i presume)...why on earth do we give our little ones something that is proven to damage and known to cause so many adverse reactions (allergies) when we care for them so much.

  8. #26

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    Dannii, I agree with you. I hate the way things can be labelled "low fat" and be full of either sugar or salt or both, or say "10% more real fruit" and have just 8% real fruit in them etc. I think there are many things wrong with labelling, the recommended starting age is just the tip of the iceberg.

  9. #27

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    I think these companies need to step up and do their part.

    New mums are given new/updated information all the time. But we're bombarded with anecdotes of 'experienced' parents, be it our own parents or others just a few years ahead of us.

    My MCHN's have dutifully handed out the leaflets that say to start solids after 6 months, but they never explain why.. and then you hear them giving their own opinion on introducing solids. to add to that, we are of the generation who say "well I turned out ok" and even parents with kids only a few years older say that they were told 4 months, and their kids are ok too.

    I mentioned to the latest MCHN (I've gone through a few - don't like any of them LOL) that the paed said to wait until Kayla is corrected 6 months.. which makes her 7 1/2 months.. and she just rolled her eyes and said "ok, we'll talk about that when the time comes". No we wont.. coz I won't go back until well after that! LOL.

    Just the fact that they've worked out that the actual gut of the baby is not mature enough to digest the food is enough for me.. but I never heard that from the nurses, if it weren't for BB and my own research, then I would be following recommendations from my mum, from older friends, and even food labels.. coz they wouldn't be allowed to put that on the label if it wasn't true.. would they???

    Well done Chloe.

    Quote Originally Posted by kristy J
    and wanting to drink too much milk more than ever recomended for such a young baby, the diatition actually said that the amount he wanted could affect his kidneys as they couldn't process so much,
    Wow - I've never heard of that. Was that breastmilk? I've never heard of too much milk being detrimental to a baby.

  10. #28

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    So so true Mantra ray!
    I know this bub won't be getting pre packaged rubbish they put into the baby food jars...not if i can help it anyway. Only good wholesome natural food for us!

  11. #29

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    rom what i've read/heard though, it is NZ who are dropping the ball in this area, as they refuse to change their laws and since it is a combined law for Aus and NZ, we won't either.
    this is true. while I believe emailing the food comanies is a good active thing to do, I think also targeting the body who lay the labelling laws is going to be more effective in making a change. After all, the food comanies now have the choice to eitehr use the loop holes in the system & continue to label as 4months + or label 6 months +. BUT if we can get the labelling laws changed then ALL baby food companies will need to change & label 6 months +

  12. #30

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    I think you're right FJ. The only language most of the big baby food companies talk is the language of money which is why I'm doing my bit by boycotting them (my shopping drives DH crazy - first there's all the companies I boycott then there's the additive issues...lol).
    Anyways...
    I've just emailed the Minister for Health and Aging [email protected] and submitted a web complaint form to the ACCC.

    This is the letter I sent to Nicola Roxon and I sent an abbreviated version (minus the last sentence) to the ACCC. Feel free to adapt it

    Dear Ms Roxon,
    I'm writing to you in regards to the labeling laws for baby foods.
    It is of particular concern to me that there is a significant discrepancy between the recommendations of WHO and numerous other bodies and the labels on packaging for baby foods. The World Health Organisation and all the the state governments of Australia recommend that solids not be introduced until after a baby is 6 months old yet it is common for baby foods such as baby cereals and the mush in a jar to be labeled 4 months +.
    As a first time mother I was silly enough to look at the jars in the supermarket and assume that if they were labeled as being suitable for a baby that is 4 months old then it was ok to feed them to a baby this young. Now a couple of years later I'm a little more knowledgeable and I'm horrified that I fed my son solid foods months before he was mature enough for them to be appropriate. Thanks to the inaccurate labeling I increased his risk of allergies, asthma and obesity significantly.
    I worry that many other mothers will make the same mistake as me for the same reasons. Of course it's my responsibility to educate myself but I did assume that because of issues like truth in advertising that if something is labeled as suitable then it is safe to feed to a baby.
    I'm addressing my concerns to you because I feel that since the early introduction of solids has adverse affects on health it is an issue that falls under the umbrella of the Health portfolio.
    Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Regards,
    crazy person's name deleted
    Now I just have to figure out who else to nag

  13. #31

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    LOL Chloe, I love the "mush in a jar" bit!! Well done.

    FWIW, I'm an annoying shopper too - I have my additives list from Fed Up and my list of salt/sugar/fat content from the Parents' Jury, and I do the best I can to avoid Nestle - and now I'll have to add Heinz to my list!!

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  16. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liz View Post
    Wow - I've never heard of that. Was that breastmilk? I've never heard of too much milk being detrimental to a baby.
    No formula. i know you cant really over BF.

  17. #35

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    Just adding my bit from kellymom about the people who recommend solids 6months+.
    I thought people could use this info in any emails/letters:

    The following organizations recommend that all babies be exclusively breastfed (no cereal, juice or any other foods) for the first 6 months of life (not the first 4-6 months):

    World Health Organization
    UNICEF
    US Department of Health & Human Services
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Academy of Family Physicians
    American Dietetic Association
    Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
    Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
    Health Canada

  18. #36

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    Thanks for that info Deidre

    I perused the baby food section of my local supermarket today, just to check who labels what correctly...........Bellamys actually label their rice cereal as 4m+........all their other products are 6m+, but it would appear that there is not one company who distributes through the large chain supermarkets who labels all of their baby food as suitable from 6m. And lets face it, the majority of people buying pre-prepared food for their bubs get it from the supermarket.

    So it seems that there isn't really an alternative

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