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Saturday
Sep132008

Another reason to breastfeed: I control the supply chain

All of the food safety recalls and scandals recently really make it difficult to ensure that the food I buy to eat myself and to feed my family is truly safe. Thankfully much of what we buy comes fresh from an organic farmer's field and there isn't much that can go wrong in that scenario. But there are certainly still lots of things that we buy in stores, lots of things that require us to have a certain level of trust in the quality assurance processes of the companies we buy from and in the government controls and regulations.

That trust has been broken. It has been broken over and over again over the past few years.

That broken trust means that I am that much more thankful to be a breastfeeding mother. That means that I control the supply chain of 100% of the food that goes into my baby's mouth for the first 6 months, at least 50% of what goes into her mouth at age 1, and a decreasing but still significant percentage beyond that.

The recent listeriosis outbreak in Canada showed us that vulnerable populations are at greater risk when food is tainted. Most of the deaths were elderly people or people whose immune systems were otherwise compromised. If infants ate sandwich meat, we certainly would have seen deaths there too. Thankfully, they don't.

But a breaking news story in China showed what can happen when food safety controls are lax, when government regulation is insufficient, and when people give their babies manufactured food (by choice or by necessity) for whatever reason.
A Chinese dairy that sold milk powder linked to kidney stones in infants knew it contained a banned chemical weeks before ordering a recall, the health minister said Saturday.

One child has died and an official said the number of children sickened had risen to 432.

Investigators have detained 19 people and are questioning 78 to find out how melamine was added to milk supplied to Sanlu Group Co., China's biggest milk powder producer, officials said at a news conference. They said some tainted powder was exported to Taiwan but none was sent to other foreign markets.

Blaming the Chinese might seem like a good way to feel safe in this type of scenario, but given the large number of food safety scares in Canada and the United States recently, I would say it is only a matter of time until we see a major baby formula recall. I'm thankful that is one bullet I will successfully dodge by breastfeeding.
« Breastfeeding on an Airplane: The Collection | Main | Is Palin running for VP to punish her daughter? »

Reader Comments (5)

Before having a baby I had never really thought of these things, but breastfeeding really is so much more safer and easier. You never have to worry about cleaning bottles either or harmful chemicals. Most of all is the bonding, which is probably priceless.

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjessyz

Excellent post! Great thoughts! I like controlling the supply chain as well.

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthroughthemonsoon

[...] I’m glad I was/am able to breastfeed my children and know exactly what they were ingesting. PhDinParenting feels similarly. Makes me think I should buy my own cow though, like my sister-in-law and family [...]

[...] said that there are toxins in breast milk and toxins in infant formula. At least with breast milk, we have some control over the supply chain. With formula, you don’t know what toxins the cows (in the case of dairy formula) or the [...]

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWake Up! For your child’

[...] sneaking into formula that should not be there, such as melamine or [...]

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