The Bellamy’s Organic team are really proud of our new product range and we want to share some insight into the hard work that went on behind the scenes to bring Australia’s finest baby food to life! What better way to do this than talk to the Bellamy’s team?
Why create a Bellamy’s Organic baby food range?
Why was a Bellamy’s Organic ready-to-eat baby food range developed? I put this question straight to Laura McBain our C.E.O. She stated simply “It takes another challenge out of providing healthy meal options for mums on the go wanting the best for their children”. Laura went on to reference new guidelines recommending variety and difference as the best ways to introduce new flavours to a baby’s palate, “….this helped frame the fantastic new recipes within the Bellamy’s organic baby food range without deviating from the Bellamy’s goal of leading babies to a path of ‘Mindful Eating’”.
Laura added that now mums always have a Bellamy’s Organic option from birth for every mealtime. “For the first time, 100% Australian made organic formula AND organic baby food are available for mums under the same trusted Australian brand.”
Let’s look at some of the key points that helped the Bellamy’s Organic team create something we are thrilled to put our name to!
It started in the kitchen…
Operations Manager Rod, “What got me really excited about this project was knowing how fantastic the recipes were that the Bellamy’s team developed. A lot of work was done in the Bellamy’s Organic kitchen from our favourite local chefs to put some tantalizing flavour combinations together.”
Let’s recap what these great flavours are.
The range has six savoury recipes, which will be available at the end of May:
• pumpkin & tomato risotto
• cauliflower cheese, potato & corn
• chicken, sweet potato & cous cous
• chicken, chickpea & sweet red pepper
• broccoli, beef & brown rice
• spring vegetable macaroni
And we have five fruit-based recipes, which are available NOW:
• apple & fig oatmeal
• banana apple porridge
• peach & apple
• mango, blueberry & apple
• berries, cinnamon & apple
Rod added, “I was tasked with making sure what the Bellamy’s Organic customer was able to eat at home is exactly the same as what was prepared in the Bellamy’s Organic kitchen right here in Tassie”.
There are many factors involved in making sure Bellamy’s parents take home the best for their children, such as how we cook, package and handle our product, but none more important than the sourcing of quality organic ingredients themselves.
Claire our Supply Chain Coordinator had some challenges of her own in sourcing the best quality ingredients for our ready to eat baby food. “When we looked in Australian supermarkets at what other baby foods mums can buy for their babies, we were really concerned about the number that included ingredients from China”.
So we made it a priority to only source the finest ingredients, that are 100% certified organic and none of our ingredients come from China. It’s all top quality produce from the best certified organic farms ensuring that there is no GM, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful chemical by-products going in to Bellamy’s Organic products.
Listening to the Bellamy’s Customer
Liana is our Bellamy’s Organic communications officer and she has direct contact with Mums and Dads on a daily basis. “I have heard firsthand what products are on their Bellamy’s wish list, the ready to eat food was right on top of that list”.
Beck, our national pharmacy account manager says “developing relationships with our retailers is easy when you have the confidence of delivering the best organic products on the market to mums and dads. With the addition of our ready to eat baby food range, Bellamy’s Organic can now be part of the complete family journey from baby into toddler and beyond”.
Customer feedback, research and adhering to the strictest HACCP foods safety and manufacturing practices played a big part in governing how our ready to eat baby food range was developed. We will continue to welcome your feedback, drop us a line anytime via Facebook, Twitter, the details on the back of our packaging or contact us by clicking here!
Where can I find the ready to eat range?
We’re really proud of our new Ready to Eat Meals range and we hope that you and your baby will love them as much as we do! So where can we find it? Both fruit and savoury ranges will be available at your nearest Chemist Warehouse nationally this month. We hope to be announcing some further stockist soon, but if you’re a Bellamy’s mum and you can’t wait, please order our ready to eat range from our web site here if there’s no Chemist Warehouse near you.
If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter on our website home page here, sign up now for our next edition where we will give you a chance to win some of our new ready to eat baby food range and send it to you!
For further information on how best to feed your baby the new Bellamy’s Organic ready to eat range, please revisit last week’s blog from Liana here.
This weeks’ blog is rather long, but stay with it. We came across this article from a US academic last week and, well, it puts the perspective on the real reason why people choose organic foods as well as we ever could. So we have simply reproduced it – the sub-heads are ours, though. We think it’s pretty compelling. The argument, as you’ll see below, answers the real question why is organic food healthy?
Pesticides in Food
For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has weighed in on organic foods for children. Its news release was widely covered in the national media.
While the AAP should be commended for acknowledging the potentially harmful effects of pesticide residues on conventional foods, their report – and associated press coverage – is seriously flawed in its basic approach to agrochemical contamination in our food supply and the associated threat to public health.
Even though the AAP acknowledges that many pesticides are neurotoxins, that studies have linked exposure to pesticides to neurological harm in children, and that a recent peer-reviewed study correlated higher pesticide residue levels in children with higher rates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the AAP is cautious about reaching a conclusion regarding the harmful effects of pesticides.
Why such a reckless approach? AAP explains, “No studies to date have experimentally examined the causal relationship between exposure to pesticides directly from conventionally grown foods and adverse neurodevelopmental health outcomes.”
With this statement, the AAP suggests that it considers existing knowledge about toxic pesticides to be inadequate and incomplete for the purposes of recommending organic foods for children, which have been shown in peer-reviewed published studies to radically reduce children’s pesticide exposure.
The pediatric group suggests, as agrochemical manufacturers have for decades, that the question of whether pesticides harm children will remain unanswered until results from experiments provide definite proof of harm. With this expectation, the AAP joins the agribusiness and pesticide lobbyists in setting an impossible standard. Let’s step back for a minute and imagine what such an experimental study would look like.
Health risks for children
Children in such experiments would need to be assigned to two different groups: ‘Group Conventional’ which would receive only conventional foods with the documented pesticide residues, and ‘Group Organic,’ on a 100% organic diet. But exposure to pesticides starts before birth, so to control for this confounding factor, the experiment would have to begin with the mothers while pregnant – also grouped in ‘Group Conventional’ and ‘Group Organic.’
Then, in order to definitively link dietary pesticide exposure to harmful outcomes, the two groups of children would need to be raised in sterile, confined isolation, to shield them from all other environmental toxins. After all, if raised in a typical household, in the soup of chemicals contaminating our air and water, and synthetics commonly found in our homes, the pesticide industry could easily dispute the study’s results.
Other factors would need to be controlled as well. Other than the conventional v. organic factor, the diets for the two groups would have to be identical. In fact, the children would have to be force-fed; if, for example, several of the children in ‘Group Conventional’ simply pick at their vegetables and refuse to eat them, but most of the children in ‘Group Organic’ do consume all their veggies, the agrochemical industry could again rightfully claim the study to be invalid because of these differences.
Moreover, we know that effects of pesticides can be long-term, especially pesticides that are carcinogens or endocrine disruptors. So to understand the effects of dietary pesticides on health outcomes in adulthood, the experiment would have to run for decades.
The problem is clear: a study that could definitively prove that pesticides cause adverse health effects in humans would be logistically near-impossible, not to mention highly unethical.
The AAP suggests that conventional foods, which carry well-documented pesticide residues, should not be considered harmful to children until the results of impossible experiments prove otherwise. This is the approach that acts in the interest of the pesticide industry, because it lets them off the hook.
But shouldn’t the AAP act in the interest of children and public health? When pesticides have been found to be toxic and carcinogenic to lab animals, have been correlated with higher rates of ADHD in children, and have been shown to lead to neurological harm in farm workers and their children, the basic assumption should be that they are harmful until proven safe, not the other way around.
Why buy organic food?
Many parents opt for organic foods for their children, because they appropriately approach toxic pesticides using the Precautionary Principle: synthetic compounds that are designed to kill living organisms should be presumed dangerous to growing children until proven otherwise. And the only way to remove your children from this huge, uncontrolled experiment is by refusing to offer them foods with agrochemical residues – by choosing organic.
The burden of proof should lie with the pesticide manufacturers, who must conclusively demonstrate that their toxins are safe. It should not be the responsibility of our children to prove, decades later, that the pesticides they consumed as kids contributed to their generation’s health problems.
By failing to come out strongly in favor of organic foods, the AAP does a serious disservice to the health of our children and the well-being of future generations.
So, why is organic food healthy? It’s not so much the argument about nutritional content, it’s the clear fact that it doesn’t contain pesticides and other chemicals particularly harmful to the development of babies and young children. If you’d like to know more about Bellamy’s Organic and the certified organic baby foods we make, click on this link.
About the author
Charlotte Vallaeys is Director of Farm and Food Policy at The Cornucopia Institute. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Science from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Australia’s National Organic Week (NOW) runs between 5th and 14th October. It’s being run to promote the idea of growing and eating organic and as they say in their promotion, NOW is the time to feel the difference, taste the difference and make a difference! And who would know better than ABC celebrity gardener, Costa Georgiadis, who is the NOW ambassador for 2012.
There are plenty of ways in which you can get involved. There are activities all over the country that you can check out (web site at the end of this article) and there are Organic Consumer’s Choice Awards, too, where you can nominate your favourite organic products. Perhaps Bellamy’s might be one of those? Feel free to vote!
What is organic?
We all tend to relate “organic” to organic food output but perhaps we forget that “organic” actually refers to a method of farming and production and it’s good to remind ourselves what that’s all about. So what is organic really? Here’s what NOW has to say:
Organic is 100% natural, pure and simple
Organic food systems work within the bounds of the natural sequences of their environment
They do not rely on synthetic farm fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, or drenches
Organic food contains no harmful preservatives or additives and is GMO free
The cornerstone of organic production is healthy soil
Organic farmers work hard to build strong lands for a sustainable food production system “for the future”
Certified organic food production must account for animal welfare, land restoration and re-vegetation
It is commonly heard that organic is “the way food used to be” and today, organic blends the very best of science and ingenuity with centuries of agricultural expertise
The organic market considers not just financial but environmental and social returns
So, those are the principles that are behind the farmers that tend the cows that produce the milk for Bellamy’s Organic baby formula. That’s why we say it provides a pure start to life.
NOW is a celebration of all things organic so if you’re interested in the broader aspects of organic farming and production and in what you can do at home, log on and find out more.
Today, when so many foods are calorie-rich and nutrient-poor, identifying and seeking out nutrient-rich foods is important. It’s a part of Mindful Eating, where the quality of food should be far more important than the quantity. Less food, more nutrition.
Many people ask us about the benefits of organic food and organic baby foodand are they real? The fact is that there’s not a whole lot of science on this subject if you want to compare simple things like, say, vegetables. But some evidence does point to the fact that plants that are not given pesticides have to “try harder” and contain more nutrients as a result.
What about more complex foods? Well, most children like bread and it plays an important part in filling the daily lunch-box, so we thought we’d take a look at organic bread and see what we could find out.
Bread plays an important role in the overall consumption of grains, particularly whole grains, since they make up part of one of the key 5 food groups. Today there is an increasing variety of organic, “natural,” and conventional bread—white, wheat, whole wheat, sprouted wheat, and gluten-free. Each makes its own claim about freshness, taste, nutrition, and other benefits. But what’s really in our daily bread? Does the type of bread you eat really make a difference? And in particular, how do organic bread ingredients differ from those in “natural” and conventional bread? This is why we stress the importance of Mindful Eating.
In a word it’s nutrition. Whole food ingredients provide a broad range of important nutrients. So more whole food ingredients equal more nutrient-rich breads. Even some refined ingredients, such as white flour, while significantly less nutritious than their whole food counterparts, still contain important nutrients. These are important aspects for families to consider when purchasing organic food and organic baby food. In a recent US study, counting both whole food ingredients and these less valuable ingredients together, 9.5 of 15 (or 63%) of the average ingredients found in organic breads were “nutritious.” By comparison, they found only 28% of the ingredients in conventional breads contributed a significant nutritional benefit. When they excluded the nutritional supplements that are added to “enriched” flour, only 19% of conventional bread ingredients are nutritionally beneficial. In addition, organic breads are also consistently lower in added sweeteners and flavour and texture enhancers.
Essentially, there are only five key ingredients that are needed to make beautiful bread: flour (preferably wholemeal), water, yeast and a little salt. That’s it. And it’s not hard to make either. In contrast, just look at a supermarket bread label. Lot’s of things to make it stay “fresh”, but if the bread isn’t wholemeal, it’s nutritionally compromised to start with. Wholemeal is the “meal”(ground flour) of wheat or other cereals with none of the bran or germ removed. Organic breads have a wholemeal base and have very few ingredients. So, even if you’re not convinced about organic, you can see that an organic loaf gives you a lot more nutrition than a “conventional” white loaf. And that’s a real consideration when you’re comparing prices, because they are not the same and they are not substitutes for one another. One feeds your children well and provides a low GI intake for sustained energy; the other just fills them up.
We notice that the recent study by Stanford University, questions whether organic food is better than conventional food, concluding there are no health benefits from organic food. When it comes to baby food, we don’t like to take chances with pesticide nasties.
Now, we’d be the first to say, and we have many times, that studies show mixed results when it comes to increased levels of nutrients in organic food, but that’s not the same as “no health benefits”. As SBS reported it on their site: “They little significant difference in health benefits between organic and conventional foods”. (Their mistake).
But how should we define health benefits?
The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimise the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people. Ultimately providing better nutrition.
We can think of three aspects of organic food that one might consider when deciding to buy, irrespective on any ecological benefits. These include:
Reduced pesticide and other contamination benefits
Let’s just assume that Stanford is correct and the nutritional delivery is identical. What about the taste comparison of organically farmed produce versus conventional foods? Like us, plants are what they consume so it stands to reason that what they “suck up” must play a role in flavour. Personally, I know I’d rather have a tomato grown under a cloche in the garden of an old Italian living in Merrylands than a tasteless hydroponic colossus flown in from The Netherlands. And this is the mentality we have with our baby food.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say there’s no difference here either.
So what about pesticides then? Well, amazingly, tucked away in the Stanford research findings was this little gem: “The study did however find that organic produce is 30% less likely to be contaminated with pesticides than conventional fruits and vegetables”. That appears to be of no consequence to, and play no part in, “health benefits” apparently! Presumably the rationale is that because the levels are below those prescribed it’s all OK. And for adults, maybe it is. But consider this, also from the US:
Charles Benbrook, who worked as the chief scientist for the Organic Center before moving to Washington State University last month, said the benefits of organic food, in terms of pesticide exposure, would be greatest for pregnant women, for young children and for older people with chronic health problems. He cites research that looked at blood pesticide levels of pregnant women and then followed their children for several years. The studies found that women with the highest pesticide levels during pregnancy gave birth to children who later tested 4 to 7 percent lower on I.Q. tests compared with their elementary school peers.
Whilst we all cannot own our own farms, and we cannot know what goes into making the food we buy from our stores or supermarkets, we do know that organicfood has been made with three key sustainabilities in mind:
It’s true that we cannot eliminate all pollution from our diets, but take the example of the organic apple vs the conventional apple.
The Conventional Apple orchardist will, by the time the season harvest is done, have sprayed approximately 2000L of spray mix (pesticides, fungicides, insecticides) on the plants. Some of these would have leached into the soil and some are known not to break down for many years. And the farmer has abided by the best conventional farming practices used by all the major players for a long time.
The apple goes into the supermarket after it has been waxed to a brilliant shine and, you pluck it from the fruit bowl at home, give it a quick rinse under the tap, and pop it into your toddlers hands as a quick, healthy nutritious afternoon snack. You hope.
To our mind the Standford review of the available literature shows little we didn’t already know, but its conclusions are a long way from its findings. So we’d make three points in conclusion:
1. The jury is still out on nutritional differences: season and ripeness may play vital parts
2. We like the taste: we observe farmers markets growing so there’s something to be said about consumer demand for better taste