Generic Baby Formula : Made In Vermont
|January 11, 2013||Posted by thecheapskatemom under baby, food, frugalphilosophy, home, household, kidsandpets, kitchen, money-management|
by Hannah Walton aka The Cheapskate Mom
I've talked about my struggles with breastfeeding before. The bottom line is – it just didn't work out for us and I was faced with sticker shock at Baby Formula prices. Of course, we wanted the best for our little guy. We knew we simply couldn't afford organic formula but we went with the next best thing – brand name baby formula. We have paid, and paid, and paid for it – let me tell you. We found that buying it in bulk at our wholesale club BJ's was the best option for us (buying it in cases directly from the manufacturer is also a cheaper option from at least one of the 2 big Formula companies). Even with BJ's on our side, there were some lean weeks when we ate beans and rice day and night to afford the baby formula.
"I pictured the generic baby formula being made like soylent green – in dirty, scary and dark factories in bleak, industrialized cities – factories that mistreated their employees and I felt I was supporting them."
We recently decided to make the leap into generic formula, now that our son's older. We felt less guilty, somehow, about feeding an older baby generic formula than a newborn. Our son loves the generic formula and though it took a day or so for him to get used to it – it's been smooth sailing ever since. Despite how easy it's been, I've had a lot of guilt about feeding our son generic baby formula. There have been moments when I've questioned my whole life – why don't we have more money so we don't have to give our son generic formula? Is this damaging him? Why didn't I go to graduate school or major in accounting or ….. A lot of strange, self- doubting questions all because I've felt so badly about feeding our son generic formula. I pictured the baby formula being made like soylent green or something – in dirty, scary and dark factories in bleak, industrialized cities – places where people were mistreated and I felt like I was supporting those businesses.
I was blown away, then – when yesterday I saw on the back of our son's generic formula container that the company that makes it is located in Georgia, Vermont. As someone who recently moved from Vermont to the lower part of New England, I personally have the utmost respect for any product from Vermont. Vermont has high standards for how employees should be treated. Vermonters take pride in the label, "Made In Vermont". The folks who live in Vermont, whether native or new to the state (often drawn by the beauty), are more likely than not the types of people who care about quality and detail. They'd rather take two days to complete a task that should take a couple hours if it means avoiding a mistake. Vermont, and Vermonters, take their work so seriously that labeling packages as "Made In Vermont" is something closely watched by the state. It's something that I, as someone who had moved to and lived in Vermont for ten years, took pride in too.
So, the generic baby formula said, in teeny tiny letters, "Georgia, Vermont" on it. I shrugged. It didn't say "Made In Vermont" so I figured it was just that the company had an office in the middle of nowhere Vermont. Last night, I hopped online just to verify that. I was BLOWN AWAY by what I found out about generic baby formula.
1. Lots, and Lots, of Generic Baby Formula Is Made In Georgia, Vermont
I've personally been to Georgia, Vermont by PBM Nutritionals. It's a beautiful place (not too ) full of nice people, green trees and rolling hills. The air is clean. The water is pristine. It looks like, according to this website, Parent's Choice at Wal Mart, Babies R Us, CVS & Walgreens formula are all made in beautiful Georgia, Vermont. How about that??
2. All Infant Formula Is The Same
I know many of you will differ. I hear you. My son couldn't tolerate cows milk formula and we had to go with soy. There is a difference – but nutritionally – it's all the same. That being said, the FDA STRICTLY regelates infant formulas – including the formulas made in Georgia, Vermont. PBM Nutritionals is on a mission to spread the word that "All infant formulas sold in the United States are required to be manufactured in accordance with, and meet the strict nutritional requirements of, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for infant formula under the regulation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration." Infant formula manufactured by PBM Nutritionals is nutritionally complete and meets the strict infant formula nutritional guidelines determined by the FDA.
3. Generic Vs. Brand Name Formula #1 Vs. Brand Name Formula #2: It's Pepsi & Coke.
Last night I found this message I'm going to quote on a baby board,
"'I'm a vet of the formula industry, and work for one of the 2 big formula manufacturers here in the US. Having gone through extensive product training, talking with our company docs, sitting in long sales conferences I have learned one huge, important detail about infant formula. It's literally coke and pepsi, and if you are not buying store brand you are wasting your money. DHA studies in Enfamil are all comparing to no DHA when they are claiming results. All formulas have DHA. There are no head to head studies between formulas, specifically showing one is better than the other. Generic, (store brand) basically mimics the nutritional content of the formulas, and then manufacturers it. They don't run fancy advertisements, have a massive sales force, and do not invest in R&D and therefore can sell their product cheaper. In the past, some Pede's frowned on store brand because of lack of samples, and the copying/lack of studies, but today they are changing their tune. Infant formula is just too expensive, and the fact that there is something on the market almost 50% less that does exactly what every other formula does has many Pede's on board with store brand formula. Here's an example, I was out of town over the summer and had a little one who was on my companies brand (a major brand) and we ran out of samples that we brought with us. I came back from the store with Parents Choice and my wife freaked. I told her there was no difference, and the baby turned out fine. Even me, a formula rep isn't going to waste that extra money for a major brand." Shocking, eh?
4. PBM Nutritionals Is The Only ISO 9001:2000-Certified Infant Formula Manufacturing Facility In The USA
According to the PBM Nutritionals website, the factory in Vermont has a 9001 certification, which means that they met a set of quality management standards in order to gain that certification. According to Wiki, ISO 9000 is a quality management certification. It's not a requirement but it sure sounds good, right?
So that's what I've found out. Do I still wish I'd gone to grad school or become an accountant? Yep. Do I wish I had more money? Oh, yeah. But I'm no longer wracked with guilt over feeding my lil' guy generic formula – aka soylent green. I'm feeding him MADE IN VERMONT formula and I love Vermont. I love the clean air, the tall mountains and the friendly folks up there.
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What do you think about this post? What do you think about generic baby formula? Is there a stigma? Why isn't information like this far easier to obtain?