Start Feeding Your Baby Organic!

Source: Steve Meyerowitz,

Parents of infants and toddlers, there are more reasons than ever to consider feeding your child organic foods. An increasing body of research indicates that residues on food may be too concentrated for infants because of their low body weights and high metabolisms. In their “Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children” report, the U.S. National Academy of Science concluded that children can acquire up to 35 percent of their lifetime exposure to carcinogenic pesticides by age five. What’s more, many of these chemicals, such as organophosphates, are neurotoxins, which can damage a child’s developing nervous system and lead to attention disorders. "Learning disabilities and attention disorders affect millions of children in the United States. We need to know if some chemicals are contributing to these disorders," says Ken Bonnet, Ph.D., of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant may wish to give serious consideration to buying organic food for themselves, too, because data suggests that newborns can “inherit” pesticides through the placenta, and they permeate breast milk.

This issue is gaining additional attention and garnering concern as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set acceptable pesticide residue levels based on healthy adult males, not children. Back in 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Food Quality Protection Act, which required the EPA to establish new minimum allowable pesticide levels on all foods taking into account infants and toddlers. They were given ten years (until 2006) to finish the job, but things do not seem to be progressing well toward that goal. The Consumers Union, a nonprofit testing and information organization, checked the EPA’s progress at the halfway mark (2001) and gave them a big “D.” The pesticide industry has also slowed things down by taking legal action against EPA in an effort to dilute the regulation.

So, what’s a parent to do? You may opt to change your food choices and start buying organic for yourself and your children now, even before the government’s standards have been fully enacted. And, it’s easier than ever as the number of popular, quality brands is growing in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. In the U.S., Earth’s Best is a leading line of organic baby food. Nature’s One makes organic formulas, both dairy and nondairy. In the United Kingdom, there are a few popular lines including Truuuly Scrumptious (yes, truuuly) and Baby Organix. Hipp Organic baby food is widely available throughout Europe, including Eastern Europe. Even the big, conventional U.S. baby-food manufacturer Gerber produces a certified organic line called Tender Harvest. These companies position themselves as using only premium quality, certified organic ingredients, and the multitude of choices tend to help assure that high taste and quality standards continue to be maintained or are even enhanced further. And, there are no additives, salt, sugar, thickeners, or artificial colors or flavors. Of course, if you don’t mind working in the kitchen, you can easily make your own purées, smoothies, and mashes from fresh organic fruits and veggies. All you need is a small blender. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to shop for organic cotton diapers, bibs, wipes, and shoulder carriers, available at many of the resources listed below. Organic is a great way to start a life.

Some Resources for Organic Baby Foods and Products:

Steve is a health crusader and author on ten books, including The Organic Food Guide. He has been featured on PBS, the Home Shopping network, QVC and TV Food Network. He has written for Better Nutrition, Prevention, Organic Gardening and House & Garden magazines.