May 15th, 2012

Making Choices in the Age of Information Overload

By Adam Davidson
The New York Times

Recently my wife and I went on an epic hunt to uncover everything possible about baby formula. We scoured more Web sites than I’d like to admit to and learned about all the options: powder, liquid, milk-based, soy, D.H.A.- and A.R.A.-fortified. (I’m still not clear on what A.R.A. is, exactly.) Then we learned that none of it actually matters. Since the Infant Formula Act of 1980, the F.D.A. makes sure that all formula is pretty much the same, no matter which one you buy.

Despite knowing this, I still insist on paying twice as much for Enfamil, which its maker claims is “scientifically designed.” (Aren’t they all?) I splurge because Mead Johnson is a 107-year-old company that has been promoting a single baby-formula brand for more than 50 years. I figure that it’s less likely to squander its name by skirting the rules or engaging in shoddy manufacturing than a company with less to lose. This peace of mind costs me about $7 per day.

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