Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Allergies May be Genetic

I hate it when newspapers run press releases and make them appear to be real articles. It happens a lot more than people think. Sometimes the paper will rewrite the article to lessen the connection, but other times, especially in smaller papers, the release is run just as is.

I quote from press releases all the time to alert you to new products and services. That's not the issue. When I tell you I'm getting information from a press release that should make you understand that you are getting only one side, and that side with the most positive spin possible. The product may still be a good one, but you should realize you need to check it out more for yourself.

Many people believe that this is what newspapers do for them. Not so. Very few critical articles, examining both sides of an issue, are run by smaller papers. They don't have the time or the expertise, and they don't want to offend advertisers. Filling space is often their main concern.

I'm saying all this because I find what sure looks to me like a press release, not rewritten, not critically examined, on the North Florida NewsDaily website.

Titled "Are Food Allergies Genetic?" with a slug line of "Courtesy of ARAcontent" rather than a reporter's byline, the article is basically an ad for Neocate, a hypoallergenic "elemental" amino acid-based baby formula for infants who, for various reasons, cannot handle milk-based or soy-based baby formulas. I talked about Neocate before, most recently in Dairy Allergies Damage Parents Too, for which I did some research and discovered that the Act Against Allergy website was another arm funded by Neocate. They have good promotional and marketing people. The product is a fine one as well, as far as I know. Just remember that different arms of the same firm are recommending it.

And here's one more arm of the same octopus. The NewsDaily article ends:

If you suspect your child might have a food allergy, visit for a free test and information you can download and discuss with your baby's pediatrician.

You guessed it. is yet another Neocate site. The test, which you can receive free by giving them your name and email address, may even be a legitimate test. But I'll bet that whatever the results say, you'll also get a pitch about how wonderful Neocate is for milk or dairy allergy.

Neocate, you might want to know, is made by Nutricia North America, a huge pharmaceutical company that is itself only the United States division of SHS International, a United Kingdom-based global leader in clinical nutrition since the 1960s. They have lots more money for marketing than I have time to track down all their arms. A peek beneath the octopus is all I can do.

Bottom line: Neocate is one of a line of important elemental baby formula products. They may be useful for a highly allergic baby. Or they may be expensive overkill. Check with a doctor or pharmacist before going further.

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