March 28, 2011

Materna Defends Honest Mistake: A Kosher Today Exclusive

Brooklyn…Materna, a baby formula manufacturer based in Israel, is frantically seeking to maintain its strong consumer base in the US after its products were refused entry into the US market by the Food and Drug Administration. For many Orthodox mothers, particularly Chasidic Jews, the absence of Materna is “nothing short of a disaster,” as a mother scouring for the unavailable product told KosherToday. She explained that her rabbi would not permit her to use any other formula. Materna is the only formula on the market that is either produced as a Cholov Yisroel (special kosher milk) or soy-based (pareve) product and kosher certified by the Badatz, a certification coveted by many Chasidic Jews. Rumors that the FDA action stemmed from a concern over quality proved to be unfounded. In an exclusive statement to KosherToday, a spokesperson for Materna wrote: “We appreciate the support of the Orthodox Jewish community, and are dedicated to providing only 100 percent kosher formulas to its new families. We are working diligently to resolve any standards issues with the FDA as necessary. As requested by the FDA, a new label-- with complete information in English-- has been prepared. Materna expects the relabeling with the updated label to be successfully completed in the near future.”


The US distributor also sought to allay fears of his customer base in the US through his Website. He noted: “As the exclusive distributor of Materna to the USA we are working around the clock to resolve this. As the sellers of baby formula we understand the importance of our formula being available at all time, unfortunately we ran into some issues that are beyond our control. Please be patient as we are handling this issue. We do not have any specific dates on when it would be resolved. Be assured that as soon as our formula becomes available again, we will resume accepting orders on this website, and stay tuned for any future updates.” In 2008, Nestle and its Israeli unit Osem acquired 51% of Materna Laboratories for nearly $70 million.