Why is there soy in Baby's Only Organic Dairy formulas?

Baby’s Only Organic® Dairy with DHA Formula, Whey Protein Dairy with DHA & ARA and Baby’s Only Organic® LactoRelief™ with DHA Formula contain organic soybean oil. Baby’s Only Organic® Dairy formula, along with Baby’s Only Organic® Dairy with Whey Protein formula and PediaSmart® dairy based nutrition beverages, do contain organic soybean oil and organic soy lecithin. Organic soy lecithin is derived from organic soy oil. Soy lecithin is used as an emulsifier that keeps the fats in a product from separating out. It has been determined that soy lecithin is a safe ingredient for food products and, in fact, has been used for many years in many foods for this purpose.

As you may know, organic vegetable oils (including organic soybean oil) are expeller-pressed. This is a process that basically presses the oil from the soybean. Our supplier cannot guarantee that minuscule amounts of protein measured in parts per million are passed through into the oil during this process. Therefore, Nature's One® added the "Allergen information: soy" to the labels of these formulas.

Conventionally processed soybean oils use hexane solvents to extract the oils so the oil is free of protein. This harsh process then requires the oil to be flashed with fire to burn off the hexane solvents. Hexane residues can remain in the finished oils. We believe that hexane has no place in a baby’s diet – even if only a residue. Also, USDA organic rules prohibit the use of solvent-extracted vegetable oils. So Baby’s Only Organic® Formulas would not be labeled organic if we selected conventionally processed vegetable oils.

We do believe that we are using the best organic ingredients currently available. We continue to monitor the availability of better organic ingredients that can be used in our products and can assure you that we will use them if they are, in fact, a better alternative than currently available ingredients.

It is most often the protein component of a food that triggers an allergic response in susceptible individuals. Since the soy oil is virtually void of protein, many children can still tolerate soy oil and soy lecithin. However, for children with severe soy allergy, we always recommend that parents discuss the possibility of using soy oil or soy lecithin with their healthcare providers. 

We do not know of another standard dairy-based formula that is completely soy free, including free of soybean oil and/or soy lethicin. Soybean oil is included in almost all infant formulas because of its specific fatty acids. When combined with other oils, the soy oil helps to meet the required essential fatty acids in the appropriate amounts needed by an infant.

Regarding the controversy about soy protein use, the following information may be of interest. There is a great deal of information and misinformation on the Internet related to the phytoestrogens or isoflavones in soy, especially foods containing soy in an infant’s or child’s diet. Research has shown that soy continues to be a beneficial option for children with certain intolerances such as cow’s milk sensitivities and for families who prefer a vegetarian lifestyle. This is because soy offers complete proteins to help meet a child’s overall protein needs.

In 2006, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, US National Institute of Health, and the Center for the Evaluation of Risk to Human Reproduction (CERHR) of the National Toxicology Program convened a meeting of key pediatric nutrition and medical experts to review the use of soy formulas in infancy and addressed many of the concerns about soy and phytoestrogens. This prestigious group was unable to conclude, after exhaustive research and reviews of the medical and scientific literature, that soy products, including soy infant formulas, were unsafe or presented risk to reproductive and developmental health. The panel called for continued research on the role of soy in human health. Since that time, CERHR has determined that there were new publications related to human exposure or reproductive and/or developmental toxicity that had been published since the 2006 evaluation. CERHR held a meeting in December of 2009 to review these new data and issued its final report in 2010 reconfirming that "there is minimal concern for adverse effects on development in infants who consume soy formula."(1) Furthermore, a clinical report co-authored by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition and titled, “Use of soy protein-based formulas in infant feeding,” states the following: “In summary, although studied by numerous investigators in various species, there is no conclusive evidence from animal, adult human, or infant populations that dietary soy isoflavones may adversely affect human development, reproduction, or endocrine function.” (2)

Also, a study from the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center compared growth, development and health of breast-fed children with children fed soy formula or milk-based formula. Preliminary results indicate the feeding of soy formula to infants supports normal growth and development. The authors further state “early exposure to soy foods, including SF (soy formula), actually may provide health benefits rather than adverse effects, e.g., improved body and bone composition and prevention of breast cancer.” (3)(4) This Center continues to study use of soy in infancy and has published additional reports showing no effect on reproduction. (5)

References:

1. National Toxicology Program. "Final CERHR Expert Panel Report on Soy Infant Formula." Washington, DC: National Toxicology Program Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, January, 2010.

2. Jatinder Bhatia, Frank Greer, and the Committee on Nutrition. “Use of soy protein-based formulas in infant feeding,” Pediatrics 2008; 121; 1062-1068.

3. Badger, TM, et al, "The health implications of soy infant formula," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009; 89(suppl):1668S-1672S.

4. Andres A et al., “Developmental status of 1-year old infants fed breast milk, cow’s milk formula, or soy formula,” Pediatrics; originally published online May 28, 2012; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3121. Developmental Status of Infants

5. Gilchrist, JM, et al, "Ultrasonographic patterns of reproductive organs in infants fed soy formula: comparison to infants fed breast milk and milk formula," Journal of Pediatrics, 2010; 156(2):215-220.

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