Why is this Organic Food Stuffed With Toxic Solvents?

By Dr. Mercola

The product is an omega 3/omega-6 oil (DHA/ARA) synthesized from fermented algae and soil fungus.

The oil is extracted from this biomass using hexane, a neurotoxic byproduct of gasoline refinement that is specifically banned in organics. 

The Cornucopia Institute investigated Martek's patent and safety filings at the FDA, and discovered that the product also contains synthetic chemicals, stabilizers, carriers, and some of the ingredients are also genetically modified.

How Did Unapproved Ingredients Make it into Baby Food?

It is distressing to see that chemical additives have skirted USDA approval and made their way into infant formulas—some of which even bear the USDA Organic Seal! This confirms that even organic certification is NOT watertight, and you, the consumer, will need to stay on your toes.

Martek's DHA and ARA products are synthetic attempts at omega-3 fats that have been in the U.S. marketplace since 2002, and in organic products since 2006. They are chemically extracted from certain types of algae and fungi that have never before been part of the human diet, and have never been approved by the USDA. Yet they have made their way into your baby's bottle.

In fact, it is unlikely that the production process of these agents has been examined at all—and for good reason. The Cornucopia Institute has uncovered an entire list of questions regarding the source, processing, and other ingredients used in the manufacturing of Martek's DHA and ARA, any one of which could result in a ban from their use in certified organic products.

GMOs, Lies, and Petrochemicals

For starters, Martek's synthetic oils are extracted using a toxic petrochemical solvent called hexane — a process that's just about as NON-organic as you can get. Hexane extraction is widely used in the production of oils, such as fatty acids and vegetable oils, but is banned in organic produce because it's a non-organic material.

So what's their loophole?

Martek Biosciences was able to dodge the ban on hexane-extraction by claiming USDA does not consider omega-3 and omega-6 fats to be "agricultural ingredients."  Therefore, they argue, the ban against hexane extraction does not apply. The USDA helped them out by classifying those oils as "necessary vitamins and minerals," which are exempt from the hexane ban. But hexane-extraction is just the tip of the iceberg. Other questionable manufacturing practices and misleading statements by Martek includei:

Undisclosed synthetic ingredients, prohibited for use in organics (including the sugar alcohol mannitol, modified starch, glucose syrup solids, and "other" undisclosed ingredients)

Microencapsulation of the powder and nanotechnology, which are prohibited under organic laws

Use of volatile synthetic solvents, besides hexane (such as isopropyl alcohol)

Recombinant DNA techniques and other forms of genetic modification of organisms; mutagenesis; use of GMO corn as a fermentation medium

Heavily processed ingredients that are far from "natural"

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You Can Avoid All of These Problems by Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding offers a list of life-long health benefits for both mom and baby, making it the best food you can give to your baby by far.

Many are aware that breast milk contains antibodies, or immune molecules, that are transferred to the baby, giving her immunities to illnesses that the mother is immune to. The converse is also true -- if your newborn is exposed to a germ, she will transfer it back to the mother while nursing. The mother's body will then make antibodies to that particular germ and transfer them back to the baby at the next feeding.

So it's not just a matter of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats that makes breast milk far superior to formula. In fact, breast milk also contains substances that may significantly enhance your baby's gut and support the healthy development of her entire nervous system.

If you are unable to breastfeed, you may want to consider the option of purchasing human breast milk, which is becoming a hot commodity online. Nursing women are now earning up to $1,200 a month from selling their extra milk to other families, many of whom are pairing up online via Craigslist and other classified sites. This trend harkens back to ancient times when wet nurses (women who breastfeed babies other than their own) were used for a variety of purposes. For more about this option and some cautions, please refer to this article on the sale of breast milk.

What You Can Do

The Cornucopia Institute has posted an Action Alert in the form of a proxy letter you can sign and mail off today. They will hand-carry your letters to the USDA spring meeting to protect organic products from synthetic additives. You can print out this proxy letter here.

Signed proxy letters should be mailed to:

The Cornucopia Institute

PO Box 126

Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827

Also consider including a donation check with your letter, to support the invaluable work the Cornucopia Institute performs to protect your and your family's right to clean, wholesome, truly organic food. As of right now, there does not appear to be any additional benefit to contacting your congressman, but if the need arises, Cornucopia will notify all their members and subscribers with the information.

I can't encourage you enough to participate in this process. It's important to recognize that you CAN make a difference! Always remember that collectively, we have the most effective power in the marketplace that can exceed the power of these multibillion dollar, multinational corporations. We can vote with our pocket books. But we also need to make our voices heard; we have to let these agencies know that we are watching, we're paying attention, and we're not going to allow this immoral, if not downright illegal, industrial favoritism to continue.

Until American consumers are willing to vote LOUDLY and CLEARLY with their checkbooks by refusing to purchase cheap products created under poor standards of safety, we will continue to be suckers for substandard and even dangerous products that can compromise our health, along with the health of future generations.

So think carefully before you purchase your products! The real cost of "cheap products" comes in the price you pay for your long-term health.

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