May 11, 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VEGAN PARENTS JAILED FOR BABY'S DEATH SOY EXPERT CALLS FOR SOY MILK MANUFACTURERS TO PROPERLY WARN PARENTS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF SOY MILK FOR BABIES
The murder conviction this week of vegan parents whose six-week old baby died of starvation underscores the dangers to infants of vegan ideology. To supplement the mother's inadequate supply of breastmilk, the parents had fed their son soy milk and apple juice. The baby was only 3 ½ pounds when it died of starvation in April 2004.
“Soy milk should never be given to infants in place of formula, ” says Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food. “In 1990, the FDA issued a warning about the use of soy milk for infants stating that it is 'grossly lacking in the nutrients needed for infants' and asked all manufacturers to put warning labels on soy milks so that they would not be used as formula substitutes.” Yet most makers of soy milk put warning labels on the package in very tiny print, if at all.
The Atlanta conviction follows two other cases of vegan parents found guilty of the deaths of their babies. Previously, a New York couple was convicted of murder and a Florida couple of manslaughter. Many more babies, however, have been malnourished on soy milk because of their parents' vegan ideology. In 1990 the FDA investigated after a two-month old girl in California was hospitalized with severe malnutrition. Her parents had fed her EdenSoy brand soy milk instead of infant formula. Because of this and a similar incident in Arkansas involving the SoyMoo brand of soy milk, the FDA issued a warning on June 13, 1990. Since then, most brands of soy milk – but not EdenSoy – include warning labels in tiny print on their packages.
“The FDA told manufacturers to put warning labels on packages of soy milk for a very good reason. Soy milk can put an infant's life in jeopardy,” says Dr. Daniel. “The myth that soy is a health food has led many parents – particularly vegans who use no animal products -- to believe that soy milk is a complete and nourishing food not only for adults but for babies and children. It is not, and severe vitamin, mineral, fatty acid and amino amino acid deficiencies will occur. That's why supplements are required by law to be added to soy infant formula.”
“The tragedy is that this baby died because its vegan parents thought they were doing a good thing for their baby by choosing organic soy milk instead of a commercial soy formula. The mother had clearly tried to breast feed as well, but like many vegans she had an inadequate supply of breast milk because of the limitations of her diet and depletion of her own nutritional stores because of pregnancy. Supplementing breast milk with soy milk and apple juice could not support the life and growth of her baby boy,” Dr. Daniel says.
In Fall 2003, soy formula caused the deaths of three babies and brain damage to at least four other babies in Israel. The infants were using Remedia brand formula that was seriously deficient in vitamin B1 because its manufacturer had failed to add it. Soy milk – as was given by the convicted vegan parents to the dead baby – does not contain added B-1 or other of the essential supplements needed to nourish growing babies.
The deaths of the three Israeli infants from the improperly manufactured soy formula in 2003 led the Israeli Health Ministry to form a 13-member committee of pediatricians, oncologists, toxicologists and other health experts to investigate soy formula and soy foods. In July 2005, the Ministry issued a health advisory, in which it warned that babies should not receive soy formula (except as a last resort) and that children up to age 18 should not eat soy foods or drink soy milk more than once per day to a maximum of three times per week. The Ministry was concerned about many health issues, including adverse effects on fertility and increased cancer risk. The UK, Swiss and New Zealand governments have also warned that soy infant formula should only be used as a last resort.
And soy milk should never be used at all.
“The myth that soy is a health food can have tragic consequences for infants and children,” says Dr. Daniel. “Here in the U.S. soy milk sales are experiencing double digit growth and soy infant formula now represents 25 percent of the bottle-fed market. It's time that the soy industry act responsibly and put prominent warning labels on its all products about the dangers to babies before more tragedies occur.”
“It is irresponsible for soy milk manufacturers not to prominently place warning labels on their products, alerting vegan parents to the very real danger of feeding these products to their infants. How many unnecessary and tragic deaths will occur before these actions are taken?”
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