Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Letter to Hood: Vitamin C

Emaline snacking on a clementine.
I do not usually write letters to companies or rant publicly but this needs to be shared. A few days ago, in desperation, I contacted Hood. It is getting difficult to purchase milk for my daughter. And if you want to see an angry mom, get in the way when she is trying to feed her child.

It has become very common for companies to add synthetic abscorbic acid (vitamin c) to their products to increase shelf life. Emaline, like many babies, does not respond well to this fake additive.

From the first time she had baby food with added vitamin c (abscorbic acid), red blotches appeared all over her face. The more she consumed, the worse the blotches got. After a few tries, the culprit became obvious.

Abscorbic acid reaction. Red blotches, swollen eye, sad baby.
She does not have a problem eating anything with naturally occurring vitamin c, it is only when it is an added ingredient. Which also makes me question how our bodies process this additive, as it is clearly not the same as the natural vitamin.

Earlier this week, I went grocery shopping at Target and only found milk with added vitamin c (both Hood and Market Pantry). So I stopped at Rite Aid on the way home and found they only carried Hood. My third attempt was Market Basket with a crying baby in arms. I finally found milk that did not have any bonus ingredients, it was just milk. I came home, put Emaline down for a nap, and composed an email to Hood. I calmly and politely shared my concerns and asked for some assistance. 

The response came back in about a day:
Thank you for writing. We appreciate your feedback and your suggestion will be shared with our Quality Department.

Not satisfied with this template response, I wrote:
Thank you. Should I expect to hear something else as this is passed along? I would hope that if my concerns are truly heard there will be more than a generic email.
 Thank you again.

Again the response came quickly and was not generic:
Kerin, below is our response after sharing your concern with the appropriate department.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient that boosts the immune system and naturally occurs in low levels in milk (4 percent).  Hood has added to the vitamin C that naturally occurs in milk.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that many adult Americans do not get enough vitamin C and that it should be consumed daily because we are unable to store it in our bodies.

We do not have plans to remove this essential nutrient and thank you for your feedback.

Abscorbic acid reaction. Red blotches. Swollen eye caused the tear.
So I guess that’s it. I appreciate that I did get a response but I will no longer purchase Hood products. I cannot believe that the additive is there for the betterment of our health. Abscorbic acid lengthens shelf life and therefore saves the company money. 

At Target the other day, I was picking out veggie pouches for Emaline. Target’s brand Up and Up offered pouches for .89 and for 1.39. They were the same flavors. The only difference is that the less expensive option contained added abscorbic acid and the more expensive offering contained only vegetables and water. I stocked up. I am happy to pay a little more when the product offers healthy food and piece of mind.

Image from Pinterest


  1. I had to put Bryce on Formula about a month ago. I bought the organic Nature's One, Baby's Only Organic Dairy Based formula and he has been having the same reaction, minus the swelling. I wonder if the ingredient ascorbate is causing the reaction! Thanks so much for this!! I always try to give him organic foods, nothing processed, so this makes total sense! And here I thought he might be allergic to dairy.... Thanks for the insight!

  2. Aww, baby E. Her reactions were so nerve-wracking and worrying. I can't imagine how hard that must've been for you. So cool that you discovered the source of her reactions and contacted Hood. Too bad they're more motivated by money than by the health of those they claim to 'serve'.