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Baby formula additives under scrutiny

Formula being fed to a baby.

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Today, an organic watchdog group is reporting on the benefits of additives in most baby formulas. The Cornucopia Institute says formulas enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids are a "marketing gimmick." And as Sarah Gardner reports, they may be even making some infants sick.


Sarah Gardner: Over 90 percent of infant formula sold in the U.S. is now supplemented with two lab-produced fatty acids naturally found in breast milk. But the Cornucopia Institute says the long-term benefits of these compounds -- extracted from algae and fungus -- is unclear.

Institute co-director Mark Kastel is asking the FDA to put a warning label on these products.

Mark Kastel: There is at least a subset of children in this country that are very, very seriously impacted, in some cases suffering from acute diarrhea for weeks or months.

Kastel's group has also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate advertising for baby formula containing these additives.

Mead Johnson, maker of Enfamil, called Cornucopia's allegations "scientifically unsubstantiated." The company said it was still reviewing the report, but remained confident in the "efficacy and safety" of its infant nutrition products.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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