Infant formula patents should be of vital interest to those of us involved in promoting breastfeeding. These patents tell us more than the label on the can. If we believe in the safety of infant formula perhaps reading some of the 1400 infant formula patents and applications might make us a little leery of declaring that infant formula is the safe alternative. The patents tell a history of constant improvements to fix the health problems created by the older formulas. The infant formula companies are working hard to improve the problems of infant formula.
For example: a patent application #20060233762 invented by Robert J. McMahon et al. (McMahon happens to be a senior principle researcher for Mead Johnson) called, "Method for treating or preventing systemic inflammation in formula-fed infants," states:
"Because the microflora of formula-fed infants is so unstable and the gut microflor largely participate in stimulation of gut immunity, formula-fed infants are more likely to develop inflammatory illnesses. Many of the major illnesses that affect infants, including chronic lung disease, periventricular leukomalacia, neonatal meningitis, neonatal hepatitis, sepsis, and necrotizing enterocolitis are inflammatory in nature."
Patent # 6849268 invented by John B. Lasekan et al. and assigned to [owned by] Abbott [Ross]called, "Method for improving bone mineralization," states:
"Infants consuming formula containing palm olein oil had lower rates of calcium absorption."
Patent # 6656903 invented by Sawatzki et al. and assigned to N. V. Nutricia (formula company in the Netherlands) called, "Baby food stimulatory growth of thymus," states:
"The thymus thereby plays a very important role for maturation particularly of the T-lymphocytes." " Children who are nourished with mother milk exhibit a significantly larger thymus than children who are fed with formula food. Moreover it is known that babies nourished with mothers milk respond to vaccination during the first year of life with higher antibody production than it is the case with children fed formula foods."
Patent application 20070104700 invented by C. Garcia-Rodenas et al (Garcia-Rodenas is employed by the Nestle Research Center) called, "Nutritional formula for optimal gut barrier function," states:
"During the postnatal development , the newborn intestine experiences a process of maturation that ends by the establishment of a functional barrier to macromolecules and pathogenic bacteria. This phenomenon is called gut closure and appears to be affected by the diet."
"...the maturation of the barrier is faster in breast-fed than in formula-fed newborns. This could explain the higher prevalence of allergy and infection in infants fed formula than those fed with mother milk."
Eye-opening comments from the industry researchers themselves regarding infant formula. We have the printed word from these researchers who are patenting substances to correct these problems like slow gut closure, poor calcium mineralization, poor antibody response, inflammatory diseases, etc. This is just a small sample of what is written regarding the health risks of infant formula within patents and patent applications. Yet, we can't have a US Breastfeeding Ad Campaign that states alot of these health risks because there is no evidence???