I met Jordie on Noosa Main Beach at a picnic full of gorgeous local sunshine coast women. I was so inspired by her love of natural wellness and wholefood.
Recently on instagram she shared the (ugly) truth about shelf-stable baby food, and I was shocked!
Although I never bought Heinz, I was guilty of getting Rafferty’s Organic Pouches as a simple ‘nutritious’ snack to carry in the pram or when travelling. Little did I know these pouches are not at all as nutritious as I once believed.
As I reach the final tri-mester for baby #2 I will be taking a much different approach to convenient snacks on the go thanks to Jordie. I reached out to her to ask if I could share her research here to inform more mothers of what is the truth of self-stable baby food, organic or not, and she agreed.
Over to Jordie to share the ‘ugly’ truth behind shelf-stable baby food….
”I’m sharing what I’ve learned about the shelf-stable baby food industry and thought you might be interested in knowing as well. Shelf-stable means that food can sit on a shelf without refrigeration or spoilage. Pouch-stored shelf-stable baby food lasts for one year and jarred shelf-stable baby food lasts for about two years.
How? It starts where they are produced. Fruits and veggies are cut up and are washed with a food based chemical wash. Extremely powerful machines heat and mill them down to a pulp. From there, many important fibres that are critical for slow blood sugar absorption and satiety are removed.
The “substance” then goes through a process to remove oxygen and vital enzymes that are critical for nutrient absorption and breakdown. It gets filtered again. And finally it’s pasteurised which kills Vitamin B1, a critical nutrient for brain development + motor function. This heating process also kills and damages enzymes and healthy bacteria + other important vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin A & C, folate, B6, B5, all of which are critical for babies’ healthy growth and development.
From here synthetic nutrients may be added in to make up for the lost nutritional value from the pasteurisation and excessive processing. Common additives such as citric acid may also be added in. Citric acid brings the PH down to a certain level so mold, bacteria, or pathogens can’t grow in the food. Citric acid is produced from a fungus called “Aspergillus niger” (a disease that causes black mold) and is fed onto a sugar containing medium. After the mold is filtered out of the resulting solution, citric acid is isolated using other chemicals and extracted using sulfuric acid.
The mixture is finally transferred into (unrecyclable) pouches made of plastic and aluminum or glass jars and heated AGAIN inside it’s final packaging (I think it would certainly be devoid of all nutrition at this point). Then they’re shipped to supermarket shelves where they can sit there for 1-2 years.
The fact that these products lose vitamins and nutrients is definitely a huge issue, especially if the majority of what babies are eating, are these shelf-stable items. However, another concern of mine is the fact that they’re heated to such high temperatures in plastic and aluminum packaging.
Although baby items are mandated to be BPA free, there are other chemicals inside the plastic such as BPS and other endocrine disruptors which get released during the heating process. BPS has been shown to create a number of health issues such as ADHD, diabetes, obesity, asthma, birth defects and cancer. In a nutshell, it’s a lot of processing that just isn’t necessary and personally i’d never eat it (or want to feed it to my non-existent babies).
I don’t want to offend anyone and please don’t think I’m judging you if you do use shelf stable baby foods. There are much worse foods you could feed your baby, but there’s also better. I’m sharing this information because I believe knowledge is power and I hope you’ll help me share this message”.
Thanks Jordan for such an informative and valuable post!
Jordan is a qualified Nutritionist and GAPS Practitioner. She is also a foodie, recipe developer, photographer, food stylist, educator, researcher, writer, cookbook author, mountain enthusiast, and coffee and tea connoisseur.
Visit her website here.