The infant formula industry is hitting back as celebrity chef Pete Evans publishes a new version of his controversial Paleo diet baby recipe book, which was dumped amid concerns that a DIY bone broth formula could lead to babies becoming sick or dying.
The liver-based concoction, which public health experts have warned isn’t safe as a primary source of nutrition for babies, has been rebranded “Happy Tummy Brew” after Evans and his co-authors accepted it didn’t meet criteria to be called an infant formula.
Published independently today on iTunes, the Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way book nevertheless implies important nutrients are missing from commercial infant formula – and illustrates “Happy Tummy Brew” with photographs of the prepared recipe in a baby bottle, toys and a pair of baby booties.
While he did not answer calls from The Weekly Online today, Pete Evans raved about the book on his Facebook page.
“I would love to thank my beautiful and love filled co-authors Charlotte Carr and Helen Padarin for standing tall and proud with integrity, in the face of small minded and ignorant individuals and organisations protecting their multinational corporate ties, personal and media agendas,” he wrote.
Jan Carey, CEO of the Infant Nutrition Council (which represents infant formula manufacturers) told The Weekly Online that commercial formula has 150 years of research behind it and is designed to “resemble breast milk as closely as possible and meet the nutritional needs of a vulnerable infant population.”
“To ensure the health and safety of infants, infant formula is rightly a highly regulated product,” she says.
“The “Happy Tummy Brew” developed by the authors of the book Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way as an alternative to commercial formula for infants from 6 -12 months does not meet the Food Standards Code’s requirements in a number of ingredients and contains dangerously high levels of Vitamin A.
“As such it is not safe for infants up to 12 months of age.”
The book appears to have undergone various revisions, including the removal of a questionable nutritional comparison chart comparing breast milk with the liver-based formula and updated health advice on feeding runny egg, honey and nuts to infants.
“Happy Tummy Brew” yields a smaller batch than the original version, is now only recommended “once a day” and is published in the 6-12 month section.
In an introduction to the recipe, the authors claims it was based on a recipe by “a world renowned nutritional biochemist Dr Mary Enig” that has been shared “millions of times over”.
The late Dr Enig was an unconventional nutritionist who also suggested coconut oil could be used to treat HIV and AIDS.
The publication of the new Bubba Yum Yum book comes as public health experts and child health groups update their feeding guidelines to specifically warn parents of the risks of feeding babies with homemade formulas.
The NSW Food Authority, for example, says babies are vulnerable to the risk of “organisms that can cause serious illness in infants” in DIY formula ingredients such as raw liver. The Federal Department of Health says it recommends commercial formula as “the only alternative” to breast milk.
Dr Julie Green, executive director of Raising Children Network, told The Weekly Online her organisation had also recently updated its guidelines.
“Extensive research demonstrates that infant formula is the only safe alternative to breast milk,” she says. “The first twelve months of life is a period of rapid development for babies. They have very specific dietary needs that are best met through breast milk or infant formula.”
Meanwhile, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) warns the updated “Happy Tummy Brew” recipe is still dangerously high in Vitamin A and could “seriously harm babies”.
“The authors seem to have made a serious mistake with this second version of their liver and broth recipe, suggesting they do not understand the basic scientific and nutrition information relevant for infant feeding,” a DAA spokesperson says.
In the new version of Bubba Yum Yum, the authors accept “commercial formula is the only food approved for children under 6 months of age, who cannot be breastfed” – but then claim essential “nutrients [two fatty acids] are still not mandatory ingredients in infant formula” and that cholesterol is necessary but “missing from commercial formula”.
Infant Nutrition Council CEO Jan Carey says formula is produced in a controlled environment according to strict standards to protect babies.
“The entire supply chain is monitored to make certain high quality safe ingredients are used, the manufacturing process is scrutinised and the end product is tested,” she says.
The original Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way was one of the most controversial books of the year – dumped at the last minute by its publisher Pan Macmillan after The Weekly Online exclusively revealed public health officials’ fears that a DIY baby formula recipe could result in babies dying.
But Pete Evans has now self-published the book with his co-authors, baby recipe blogger Charlotte Carr and naturopath Helen Padarin.
Health officials, however, still hold grave concerns about the book, which Charlotte Carr says had 10,000 pre-orders. If true, this would make it a bestseller.