Organic Formula: USA vs Europe - Who Does it Better?

December 08, 2016

Organic Formula: USA vs Europe - Who Does it Better?

Breastfeeding exclusively, or even at all, is not an option for many Mamas. Whether by choice or by circumstance, you've decided to formula feed your wee one. The world of formula can be a bit foreign, so we decided to dig into what organic formulas are made of and the difference between purchasing organic formulas in the USA vs the EU just for you!

organic formula talk


If you’ve ever taken a look at non-organic formula, you’ve probably noticed that many of the listed ingredients are ones you’ve either never heard of or can’t pronounce! Most conventional formulas in the US contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pesticides, and milk which could be contaminated by growth hormones and/or antibiotics.

While organic formulas don’t always have the best ingredients either, they are a better option over conventional formula.


Chances are that if you’re going to use formula, you want the one that will most closely mimic breast milk and provide your little babe with the best nutrition. But many of the organic formulas sold in the US contain ingredients that are also, well, yucky.

Let’s take a look at some of these ingredients, shall we?

  • SWEETENERS: Breast milk is naturally sweet. In an attempt to replicate this, many of the organic formulas contain sweeteners (often plant based). While the US still allows this, in 2009, the EU banned the use of sucrose in formula due to concerns of overfeeding and obesity. Since the FDA does not provide guidance on which sugars can be used in formula, many contain sweeteners including maltodextrin and corn syrup. In 2012, a study done by Dartmouth University also tested brown rice syrup, which contained six times the EPA’s safe limits for arsenic.
  • PALM OIL: Because breastmilk contains palmitic acid, many formulas now utilize palm oil to replicate it. Palm oil, however, is not properly absorbed by infants. It has been shown to create “soap” in baby’s guts, which blocks calcium from reaching bones properly, and can ultimately result in lower bone density.
  • SYNTHETIC DHA & ARA: Most organic formulas now list DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, and ARA, an omega-6 fatty acid as a part of their ingredients. While these fatty acids are naturally found in breast milk, DHA oils are extracted from laboratory-grown algae by using the toxic chemical known as hexane. Similarly, ARA is extracted from a laboratory-grown soil fungus also with the use of hexane. In case you're still wondering what hexane is, here's how Cornucopia describes it: "[hexane]...a toxic solvent that is a by-product of gasoline refining."
  • CARRAGEENAN: If you’ve never heard of this ingredient, you aren’t alone! This additive is used to help stabilize liquid formula and is derived from seaweed. Animal studies suggest that carrageenan leads to intestinal inflammation. While the EU has banned the use of carrageenan in all infant formulas, the US allows its usage in both conventional and organic formulas.


As evidenced by the section above, the EU has stricter regulations surrounding infant formula. The use of synthetic nutrients such as (but not limited to): lutein, lycopene, and taurine are banned in the use of organic formulas in the EU. In addition, many of the organic formulas do not contain high-concentrated sweeteners, synthetic DHA and ARA, and carrageenan. Due to the higher regulation standards, European brands definitely boast better ingredients in their formulas!

If you are interested in trying European formulas for your baby, we suggest learning more about HiPP and Holle, two of the leading organic formula brands in the EU!

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The content found on the BettyRuth site is not meant to replace professional medical advice. 
By Myra Aslam @ Bliss Creative

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