FDA regulates infant formula to help keep babies safe

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News 12 This Morning/Tuesday March 4, 2014

(WRDW)--The FDA's new regulations on infant formula are working to help families make sure they're getting what's on the label, which is important for a little newborn.

"When we're talking about the feeding of a newborn or even an infant up to 12 months of life, they do have a more sensitive immune system," said Amy Gates, pediatric nutrition specialist with Georgia Regents University.

That sensitive immune system is part of the reason why the Food and Drug Administration's created rules to make sure infant formula is safe and nutritious.

Although most formula makers already follow the practices, Gates says these regulations help guarantee families about what's in each bottle.

"It's just insuring the public and the purchasers of the infant formula that they actually have what the label says they have," she said.

The new rules also lets the FDA keep records on manufacturers to make sure they're following the law.

Gates tells me this is an important mandate now that more manufacturers are entering the market.

"Now that we're getting into a specialty food market [with]things you can purchase over the internet, things that are marketed as organic, as specialty, as non-GMO...those sort of specialty type things, they now are being regulated by the FDA where they may have not been following those rules before," Gates explained.

And now that food safety's regulated for all formula makers, Gates says it's important for new parents to keep food safety in mind.

"[Avoid] ross contamination. [Such as] mixing it in a container that was not cleaned properly or in your kitchen after you just prepared raw meat," said. "[Also], preparing liquid formula and keeping it in your purse and not keeping it refrigerated. Those sorts of things can increase levels of bacteria for the very small baby."

Gates also suggests parents buy their formula from the "Big Three" manufacturers:

- Nestlé, marketer of the Gerber Goodstart brand
- Mead Johnson, marketer of the Enfamil brand
- Abbott, marketer of the Similac Formula

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