Canola oil is now “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA for use in infant formula, and I doubt many folks understand the implications.
For any of us who’re concerned about our family’s nutrition and for whom breast-feeding isn’t an option, the list of ingredients that make up our babies’ “food” is appalling enough. Soy, hydrolyzed protein, corn-based starches and sugars, and dairy ingredients from cows that receive bovine growth hormone are just some of the scarier offenders. Adding canola to the list is nothing more than icing for a nasty cake that no human should have to eat.
If you believe what you hear and see in the media though, you’d likely have no issues with canola oil. With descriptions like “heart-healthy”, “natural”, and “low in saturated fat” being used to advocate canola’s use, you’d think its addition to the GRAS list would be a good thing. In my opinion, however, it’s not.
According to one source, GM canola makes up about 90 percent of the canola grown in the U.S. Now, I know there are a lot of folks who’re thinking, “So what!” To those folks, I would ask them to consider this. Crops are being genetically modified so they can tolerate excessive use of pesticides. These pesticides don’t “wash off” anymore than a doctor can treat a drug overdose by throwing you in the shower. Not only are we ingesting these toxins as we consume the oil, but we’re ingesting even more of these toxins that bio-accumulate in the animals that eat canola meal, a by-product of canola oil production.
Canola isn’t a naturally occurring plant. Canola was bred from rapeseed and mustard to produce a plant that contained less erucic acid. Canola’s developers hoped to make a less bitter alternative to rapeseed for cattle feed and a more palatable oil for human consumption.
Another concern with canola in infant formula is its fat profile. I understand that formula manufacturers try to mimic the composition of human breast milk, but the food industry has a proven track record of trying to improve upon nature. All it takes is someone thinking that a different fat make-up will grow healthier babies, and then we’re headed down the road to disaster. The human brain relies on fat for its growth and development. Fat is required to make hormones and neurotransmitters. We’ve proved that when we second-guess nature, nothing good comes of it.
Perhaps I’m in the minority. Unfortunately, I was one of those folks who had to rely on formula to feed my babies. No doctor would help me figure out why I couldn’t feed my babies the way God intended, and because so much infant formula is available, it wasn’t viewed as a priority. The fact of the matter is though, I shouldn’t be left with nothing but non-option options. While feeding my boys artificial human milk allowed them to live, I can’t help but wonder about all the unintended consequences. How do things like soy, pesticides, and sub-optimal lipid profiles affect our kids over the long haul? Adding yet another junk product to the “arsenal” seems exceedingly unwise, but hey, they don’t ask me what I think. :)
- Canola — Wikipedia
- Canola oil secures GRAS status in infant formula after Danone petition gets green light — FoodNavigator-USA.com
- Top 7 Genetically Modified Crops — Huffington Post
- Erucic acid — Wikipedia