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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LATCH -QTV ads for 2010

Finally got the L.A.T.C.H. QTV ads from our President Buding. Check them out and enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

More on the Recall and Press Advisories from Arugaan and IBFAN

I was quite disappointed to receive an email from Nanay Ines yesterday that FDA Acting Director Nazarita Tacandong recanted and said that it is safe to use the recalled Mead Johnson products. Meanwhile, in L.A.T.C.H.'s Facebook page, one of the fans posted that their doctor told them that the low fat content in Sustagen and Alactagrow is nothing to worry about since kids get fat from their meals.
Mead Johnson was also quick in damage control and their Philippine website now shows a message from their President:
All of our products currently sold in the Philippines, including Alactagrow and Sustagen Junior, have passed stringent Philippine FDA health and safety requirements and are considered to be safe for consumption and of high quality. While the fat level requirement does not relate to the safety or quality of the product, Mead Johnson is taking steps to meet that requirement also.
Mead Johnson is launching today a reformulated version of Alactagrow that meets the new regulatory requirements. Work is underway to develop an updated version of Sustagen to meet the revised standards.
I think the real issue here is deceptive marketing to consumers. Isn't it strange for Mead Johnson to say that there is nothing wrong with their products YET released a new formulation for both Sustagen and Alactagrow Bibo? They might argue that hey, the new formulation is a response to the new regulatory requirements. Continuously, new ingredients in breastmilk are being discovered resulting in constant changes in minimum formula requirements. This just supports the position that despite what the formula companies say, formula can never equate breastmilk.
I'd like to share the Press Advisories of Arugaan and International Baby Food Action Network below.

Press Advisory
Save the Babies Statement
Contact Person: Ines A. Fernandez cp 09088888153

Protest on Recalled and Recant of Mead Johnson Products

Save the Babies Coalition registers our rage over the recant of the Acting Director Nazarita Tacandong of Food and Drug Administration in last night TV newscast September 22, 2010 saying "It is safe to use these products".
The Recall on the dangerous products of Mead Johnson's Alactagrow Bibo trio and Sustagen Jr. bespeak of its nutrient defieciency of fat contents. It showed that Mead Johnson wrongly disseminated its nutritional and halth claims of "resistensiya builders" and "all around health".
It is a case of misbranding.
Mead Johnson cheated the Filipino consumers.
Based on scientific evidences upheld by Codex Alimentarius that fatty acids deficiency affects the nervous system and brain developmemt of the infants and young children.
Furthermore, Sustagen Jr. product certification registry at FDA - Food and Drug Administration already expired last May,2010 due to non-compliance of Codex Alimentarius and Philippine laws.
Our Constitional law protects us in its aim that " Anything that endangers the life of an individual is a criminal act".
Both Mead Johnson President Paul Richards and FDA Acting Secretary is responsible and accountable for gross deception to the Filipino people.



CONTACT PERSON: Velvet Roxas 0915-7741614

RE: DOH and FDA ADVISORY 2010-010:

Product Recall Order For Alactagrow Bibo Trio Milk Supplement Covered by Registration No. FR-71538

The International Baby Food Action Network urges the FDA to fully implement the Product Recall Order for Alactagrow Bibo Trio Milk Supplement, manufactured by Mead Johnson covered by Registration No. FR-71538.

Infants and young children are our most vulnerable consumers and deserve the utmost protection from harmful products. Such protection is vital for milk products marketed for older infants and young children and intended to support growth and development.

The failure of Alactagrow Bibo Trio Milk Supplement to provide the fat content of 3 to 6g. per 100 kcal. as set by FDA regulations and the Codex STAN 156-1987 for milk supplements, potentially puts older infants and young children at serious risk for undernutrition related to insufficient fat intake.

Fats in the diet of older infants and young children are critical because they are essential for brain and neurological development. Brain and neural growth remains rapid during the second year of life. As well, fats have 2.5 times the energy density of carbohydrates and proteins and therefore are critical to providing adequate energy for growth.

Alactagrow has no added fats; hence the only fats present are those from the whole milk powder, which as the 4th listed ingredient, after skim milk powder (no fat) and corn syrup solids and sucrose, is likely to be minimal. Indeed the total fat content as determined by the FDA is a mere 1.34g. per 100 kcal.

The deception and misrepresentation of the label is confounded by the confusing and contradictory messages regarding the recommended age for the use of this product – which on the one hand states 1-3 years old and on the other hand states that a milk supplement should not be introduced before the sixth month. This conveys the clear message that the product is suitable for infants after 6 months. The need for essential fats for infants between the ages of six to 12 months is even greater, so this increases the risk to health.

The product is primarily a fat reduced milk powder, with sugar, fortified with minerals and vitamins. An expensive product that is deficient in the essential level of fat required by older infants and young children.

Since milk (unmodified with added sugars and reduced fats) remains the most important component of a young child’s diet providing:

· 55% of energy - 9-11 months

· 40% of energy - 12-23 months

The marketing of Alactagrow by MJ is fraudulent, misleads parents and risks less than optimal growth and development, especially brain and neurological development for older infants and young children.

Thus we urge FDA to enforce a full recall of Alactagrow Bibo Trio Milk Supplement Covered by Registration No. FR-71538 and any other milk products that violate the nutritional and labeling standards of the Codex-STAN 156-1987, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant WHA resolutions.


Contact Persons:

Velvet Roxas, IBFAN and Arugaan (0915-7741614)

Ma. Ines Av. Fernandez, Save Babies Coalition (0908-8889153)

Atty. Ipat Luna, Health Justice (0928-5048265)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2 Mead Johnson Products in the Philippines are Recalled

Two Sundays ago, Mead Johnson paid for a cover story in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine to feature their "Feeding Hope" program.A couple of days after that feature, our Food and Drug Administration issued 2 advisories recalling Mead Johnson products - Sustagen Junior Milk Drink Powder Vanilla Flavor (for toddlers 1-3 years old) and Alactagrow Bibo Trio Milk Supplement under Advisory Nos. 2010-009 and 2010-010, both issued on on 16 September 2010.
Under Advisory No. 2010-009, Sustagen Junior is being recalled because of its non-compliance with the standard fat content level (3-6 grams per 100 calories) for milk supplements. Testing showed that Sustagen Junior's fat content is at 1.5g per 100 calories - clearly at a substandard level.
Meanwhile, under Advisory No. 2010-010, FDA declared that tests also showed that Alactagrow
Bibo merely had 1.34g per 100 calories of fat content - also at substandard level.
Interestingly though, labels of both products didn't clearly state the fat contents of their products or that they were within the required levels. Sustagen's label stated that fat content was at 5.9 g per 100g (392 calories per gram), while that of Alactagrow Bibo was at 5.1g per 100 g (380 calories per gram).
The average consumer wouldn't really understand if this is within the required level as stated by the FDA.
However, the 2 advisories clearly stated that upon testing, fat levels of the 2 products are non-compliant with the standard level of quality. This morning, the Mead Johnson representative, who was being interviewed in the morning news, kept harping on (1) how this was a 3rd class recall; (2) the recall shouldn't have been made public and that they were caught by surprise; and (3) their products passed all the minimum standards. I wouldn't be surprised on how Mead Johnson will deal with this recall given their underhanded marketing tactics to undermine breastfeeding efforts and implicitly (sometimes not even!) influencing mothers to think formula milk is as equal to breastmilk and to choose that instead!
If you have purchased these 2 recalled products, better contact Mead Johnson to return then. Consumers of these products are children from 1-3 years old and can actually just choose to drink fresh milk instead. Read THIS POST on why formula milk is not necessary for toddlers.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sleeping with the Enemy?

Have you seen the Sunday Inquirer Magazine last 12 September 2010? The cover is entitled: "Mead Johnson Nutrition - Feeding Hope to an Impoverished World". It was a paid advertisement by Mead Johnson with a story about how Mead Johnson partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and an NGO - Kabisig ng Kalahi Foundation to implement a Feeding Hope Program. A couple of days earlier, a feature article in Manila Bulletin also expounded the benefits of this program. Strangely though, when you go to the online version of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, the Cover Story is not included in the list of articles for the 12 September 2010 magazine. I am again reminded of Nanay Ines' comments that the milk companies spend as much as $4B on ads and marketing campaigns.
According to the President of Kabisig ng Kalahi Vicky Wieneke, "[t]he Feeding Hope program of Mead Johnson Nutrition fits well with our mission of working arm in arm with fellow Filipinos to assist in providing children from poor communities with their nutritional needs. (emphasis mine)
But what is the Feeding Hope program? It is a "back-to back hot meal and milk drinking program implemented in modules among groups of 30 children. The program runs for six months, with the meals given six days a week. Mothers prepare the meals and feed the children together. In the community-based supplemental feeding program, malnourished children are provided with hot meals, milk, medical check-ups and treatments. Mothers are immersed in seminars and workshops that teach them about health, sanitation and parenting. The sessions also include spiritual values formation, natural family planning, and livelihood tips, among other information."
I'm happy to read that livelihood tips are also include but I still can't help but be reminded of that adage - that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish. I am very much concerned with the milk drinking program and provision of the milk for 6 months. Sure, for 6 months, the mothers won't have to worry about where to get milk (as I'm sure Mead Johnson has the budget to give it away for free!). But after 6 months, Mead Johnson's investment will start to pay off as mothers will now be buying milk (and MJ's Lactum has milk formula for kids even over 6 years old!). Plus, there is no mention of whether MJ is providing milk formula for babies below 12 months.
This feeding program (as well as Nestle's Bear Brand campaign) emphasized that milk needs to be a diet staple in order to be healthy. I am again reminded of Nanay Ines' presentation on indigenous foods - locally available foods are better sources of nutrients that are provided by milk.
It makes me wonder if it would be better to teach mothers how to make use of the indigenous foods or cheap foods locally and immediately available within their vicinity to provide nutritious meals to their families. The objectives of the Feeding Hope program are laudable but its partnership with Mead Johnson taints its commendable objectives. I can't help but think that it is but part of Mead Johnson's marketing strategy - bait and hook moms to ensure that milk (MJ formula in particular) remains to be a constant part of their children's diet ensuring a steady supply of revenue for the company.
Some other questionable marketing tactics of milk companies include: Babble.Com's partnership with Similac in its Breastfeeding Guide and WebMD's Breastfeeding Guide sponsored by Gerber/Nestle. I find that this campaign of Mead Johnson falls squarely into this list.

*Thanks Zeka for the heads-up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Natural Parenting and the Working Mom

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We're all home schoolers
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
At 33 months, Naima has been in school for almost 1 year. She started just before she turned two and regularly attends morning classes. Happily, with the help of my yayas, Naima's learning doesn't end when she comes home from school.
In the Philippines, we have "yayas" or nannys to take care of our children. Whether you are a working mother or not, among the major concerns of a Pinay pregnant mom is being able to find a good yaya for her unborn child. In fact, this has resulted in several local books including I Love You Yaya and The Yaya Manual, all geared towards helping moms find the perfect yaya addition to their household.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Whip 'Em Out

Here are 2 public service announcements I chanced upon on Youtube.

Still looking for the L.A.T.C.H. PSA's shown on QTV and will post as soon as I get them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ParentinTV Talk Series - Investing in your Child's Future

This Saturday, Parentin.TV will be conducting the 3rd of its Talk Series, entitled "Guide to Investing in your Child's Future. Aside from the talks enumerated above, there will also be booths featuring the following mompreneurs: Mama.Baby.Love, Mamaway, The Eco Baby Boutique, Au Lait Maternity and Nursing, NursingMom and ProudMama Store. One highlight of the event will be a Fashion Show at 5 o'clock exhibiting the various nursing and maternity items of these mompreneurs. Usually, fashion shows are limited to 1-2 brands but during this event, attendees get to see a variety of at least 5 brands for nursing wear - the most exhibited ever! Plus, there are hourly raffles of exciting and generous showcases, including a livelihood project! Don't forget to register at Parentin.TV to be eligible for the raffles and see you there!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September Events

If you thought August was busy, September is not far behind. On the first 2 days of September, there was already a Scholastic and Grolier Warehouse sale in C. Raymundo Ave., Pasig City which I was disappointed I missed.
Beginning this weekend, there is at least 1 Saturday activity worth checking out!

This afternoon, September 4 is the Trunk Show Launch Party of Eden. According to Buding, the Infinitude has been selling fast and only limited colors are left due to pre-orders. Shopping is only from 3pm-7pm and they will be accepting cash or checks. I hope Naima will be better by then so I can go to the Trunk Show with Charmaine and Jen.

On September 11, there will be 4 events!
L.A.T.C.H. will be having its bi-monthly breastfeeding seminar for pregnant moms. This will be at The Medical City from 9-12nn. This is a free class on a first come, first serve basis. Classes will be at the 4th Floor, Conference Room 1 - take the entrance beside Starbucks. Topics include Breastfeeding Benefits, What to Expect in the First Week, Positioning and Latching, Back to Work and Busting Breastfeeding Myths. For inquiries, you can call TMC at 635-6789, loc. 6444.
Meanwhile, if you are already a breastfeeding mom and have some questions to raise, you can choose to attend the La Leche League Meeting at 11am at the Podium Mall. Last time, the meeting was held in the Atrium at the 2nd floor. I'm not sure if this time, it will be inside Baby & Company at the 3rd level. Topic is also not yet confirmed but the meeting is quite informal and this is the chance for breastfeeding moms to raise their questions and concerns.
For moms with young babies, you can check out Mommy Mundo's Moms on the Floor. Activities include yoga, KinderMusik, Breathworks and Infant Massage. The activity will be held from 1-4pm at the Top Shelf, Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street. This means you still have time to switch venues and catch talks and a fashion show at the St. Luke's Global City.
From 2pm-7pm on September 11, Tintin Bersola-Babao's Parentin.TV will be holding its 3rd talk series. There will be a variety of topics, including a talk on breastfeeding to be given by Ms. Nona Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC. Plus there will be a fashion show of maternity and nursing wear launched by several brands! Participating brands include Mama.Baby.Love, Mamaway, Mama Au Lait and Mothers En Vogue by Au Lait Maternity and Nursing. These mompreneurs will also be setting up booths outside the auditorium from 10am-7pm. More shopping! Will be blogging separately about this event next week.
There will also be 4 interesting events on September 18. Mommy Mundo will be holding its first Clearance Clearout Sale with items to be sold at a minimum of 30% off! Brands include Dwell Studio, Mamaway, Mommy Matters plus more! This is a perfect start to completing your Christmas 2010 list.
If exchanging used items is your thing, then check out The Stork Exchange organized by Amanda Griffin-Jacob over at the M Cafe in Greenbelt 3. There is an entrance fee of P299 pesos which comes with a drink but yaya and kids are free! Check out details in their Facebook page.
If books are your thing, don't forget to head to SMX Convention Center for the 31st Manila International Book Fair. This event will be from September 15-19, 2010 from 10am-8pm, allowing you to visit this event after you have checked out the other Saturday happenings.
There will also be a La Leche League Meeting on September 18, Saturday for the Makati Group - Rustan's Makati at 1030am. Don't forget to register by emailing La Leche League Leader Abbie Yabot. I love attending these meetings and talking to like-minded moms. Babies, dads, grandparents and yayas are welcome!
Finally, on September 25, 2010, there will be a Breastfeeding 101 class by Abbie's The Breastfeeding Club. Topic is "Beginning Breastfeeding" so if you miss the LATCH seminar on September 11, this will be the perfect alternative. The class will be held at The Medela House. Call for details and to register.

If you have more September activities, I'd be happy to add them to this list. Just leave a comment or email me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Unang Yakap

This is a wonderful promotional video by the Philippines' Department of Health on the Essential Newborn Care launched in 2009. Two of Naima's doctors are here - Dr. Silvestre and Dr. Bautista.

The campaign, entitled Unang Yakap - Yakap ng Ina, Yakap ng Buhay which translates to First Embrace - Embrace of Mother, Embrace of Life, seeks to cut down infant mortality rates. The steps enumerated in the above video are more explained in a slide from a presentation by Dr. Silvestre below:
The Essential Newborn Care categorizes post-natal procedures into time-bound, non-time bound and unnecessary actions. It is interesting to note that only 4 steps are time-bound - immediate drying with quick check, skin-to-skin contact, cord clamping (but not immediate! only after cord pulsations stop) and early initiation of breastfeeding.
Other procedures thought to be necessary e.g. bathing, immunization, cord care were considered to be less important than breastfeeding. The guidelines also consider routine suctioning, routine separation of newborns for observation, administration of prelacteals like glucose water or formula, and footprinting as UNNECESSARY procedures.
This is such an wonderful development since here in the Philippines, doctors considering taking the weights, APGAR scores, etc. to be even more important than breastfeeding. In fact, I know some moms whose babies were taken from them immediately after birth and they only saw their babies again after 24 hours! Really, how I would like to show these guidelines to several pediatricians in this country!
My office was lucky because during our breastfeeding festival last week, we had Dr. Silvestre with Dr. Jessa Sareno to explain the essential newborn care. Her talk was very well attended and I thought it was very good that most of her audience were pregnant moms. Now they know what the Department of Health mandates will learn better than to listen to those "medical experts".
Dr. Silvestre is not holding clinic nowadays because she is very busy promoting the guidelines all over the country. Hopefully, these guidelines will become established hospital policy and those unnecessary mom-baby separations will come to an end.
*Thanks Claire for the heads-up!
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