Gerber Maintains Good Start Infant Formula Helps Reduce Risk of Atopic Dermatitis in Infants
Florham Park, NJ. October 30, 2014 - Today the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced it would file a complaint against Gerber Products Company as a result of a recent inquiry into certain allergy and atopic dermatitis claims that Gerber makes for Gerber Good Start Gentle Infant Formula. Gerber is disappointed with the FTC’s conclusions and will defend its position relying on an overwhelming body of independent scientific evidence that substantiates the benefits communicated to consumers.
The marketing campaign central to this inquiry involves infant formula, one of the most studied food products on the market today. An extensive body of peer-reviewed clinical research indisputably substantiates Gerber's Good Start Gentle Formula products' ability to help reduce the risk of the most common infant allergy: atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as baby eczema.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that atopic dermatitis may be delayed or prevented in infants who are not breastfed by feeding an infant hydrolyzed formula instead of intact cow’s milk protein formula. Other highly respected academics, experts and organizations, including The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, have also specifically stated that 100% whey partially hydrolyzed protein infant formulas, such as Gerber Good Start, have a preventive effect on atopic disease and cow’s milk protein allergy/food allergy. More importantly, prohibiting such claims, as the FTC seeks to do, would simply deny parents this critical and important information and deny this benefit to infants.
In May 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) authorized Gerber to feature a qualified health claim regarding its infant formulas that are manufactured with 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed. Infants who have a family history of allergies and are fed 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formulas in the first four months of life have been shown to have a reduced risk of atopic dermatitis compared to infants receiving formulas made with intact cow’s milk protein. The authorization of the qualified health claim by the FDA is the first ever for infant formula. This allows the company to communicate to consumers that Gerber Good Start compared to other formulas, can reduce the risk of the most common allergic disease in infants and young children, atopic dermatitis.
From the start of the initial inquiry by the FTC, Gerber has fully and completely cooperated with the FTC in presenting the extensive support for its claims. Gerber believes it well surpasses the FTC’s competent and reliable scientific evidence standard, which is required for making such claims. Gerber fully stands by its claims around allergy and atopic dermatitis and will vigorously defend any litigation or allegations which suggest that such claims are not substantiated or which purport to challenge such claims.
There is no dispute that in addition to providing nutrition, Gerber’s Good Start Gentle Infant Formula made with 100% whey partially hydrolyzed may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis. Gerber questions the FTC’s conclusion; since physicians rely on peer reviewed and published clinical evidence to educate parents and develop strategies to reduce the risk of allergies in infants.
Gerber always has, and will continue to treat its mission of delivering nutrition and benefits to infants as its top priority. Beyond the claims that are being challenged, Gerber will continue to focus on responsibly and effectively educating parents and medical practitioners on the nutritional and protective benefits of its products.
For more information related to the benefits of Gerber’s infant formula, consumers and physicians are encouraged to visit Gerber’s website (www.Gerber.com/ad), where they can find extensive information regarding these benefits.
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**If you choose to introduce formula and have a family history of allergy, feeding a formula made exclusively with 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed, during the first four months of life may reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis* throughout the first year, compared to formulas made with intact cow’s milk protein. The scientific evidence for this is limited and not all babies may benefit. Partially hydrolyzed formulas should not be fed to infants who are allergic to milk or infants with existing milk allergy symptoms. Not for allergy treatment.