Top US Brand of Children’s Vitamins Contains Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals

by Sayer Ji

The #1 Children’s Vitamin Brand in the US contains ingredients that most parents would never intentionally expose their children to, so why aren’t more opting for healthier alternatives?

Kids vitamins are supposed to be healthy, right? Well then, what’s going on with Flintstones Vitamins, which proudly claims to be “Pediatricians’ #1 Choice”? Produced by the global pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, this wildly success brand features a shocking list of unhealthy ingredients, including:

Cupric Oxide
Coal tar artificial coloring agents (FD&C Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #6)
Zinc Oxide
Ferrous Fumarate
Hydrogenated Oil (Soybean)
GMO Corn starch

On Bayer Health Science’s Flintstones product page designed for healthcare professionals they lead into the product description with the following tidbit of information:

82% of kids aren’t eating all of their veggies. Without enough vegetables, kids may not be getting all of the nutrients they need.

References: 1. Lorson BA, Melgar-Quinonez HR, Taylor CA. Correlates of fruit and vegetable intakes in US children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(3):474-478.

The implication? That Flintstones vitamins somehow fill this nutritional void. But let’s look a little closer at some of these presumably healthy ingredients….


Aspartame is a synthetic combination of the amino acids aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine, and is known to convert into highly toxic methanol and formaldehyde in the body. Aspartame has been linked to over 40 adverse health effects in the biomedical literature, and has been shown to exhibit both neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity. What business does a chemical like this have doing in a children’s vitamin, especially when non-toxic, non-synthetic non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia already exist?


Next, let’s look closer at Cupric Oxide, 2mg of which is included in each serving of Flinstone’s Complete chewable vitamins as a presumably ‘nutritional’ source of ‘copper,’ supplying “100% of the Daily Value (Ages 4+), according to Flintstones Vitamins Web site’s Nutritional Info.

But what is Cupric Oxide? A nutrient or a chemical?

According to the European Union’s Dangerous Substance Directive, one of the main EU laws concerning chemical safety, Cupric Oxide is listed as a Hazardous substance, classified as both “Harmful (XN)” and “Dangerous for the environment” (N). Consider that it has industrial applications as a pigment in ceramics, and as a chemical in the production of rayon fabric and dry cell batteries. In may be technically correct to call it a mineral, but should it be listed as a nutrient in a children’s vitamin? We think not.


A well-known side effect of using synthetic dyes is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. For direct access to study abstracts on this topic view our Food Coloring research page. There is also indication that the neurotoxicity of artificial food coloring agents increase when combined with aspartame, making the combination of ingredients in Flintstones even more concerning.


Each serving of Flinstones Complete Chewable vitamins contain 12 mg of zinc oxide, which the manufacturer claims delivers 75% of the Daily Value to children 2 & 3 years of age. Widely used as a sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreens, The EU’s Dangerous Substance Directive classifies it as an environmental Hazard, “Dangerous for the environment (N).” How it can be dangerous to the environment, but not for humans ingesting it, escapes me. One thing is for sure, if one is to ingest supplemental zinc, or market it for use by children, it makes much more sense using a form that is organically bound (i.e. ‘chelated’) to an amino acid like glycine, as it will be more bioavailable and less toxic.


Sorbitol is a synthetic sugar substitute which is classified as a sugar alcohol. It can be argued that it has no place in the human diet, much less in a child’s. The ingestion of higher amounts have been linked to gastrointestinal disturbances from abdominal pain to more serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.


The one clear warning on the Flinstone’s Web site concerns this chemical. While it is impossible to die from consuming iron from food, e.g. spinach, ferrous fumarate is an industrial mineral and not found in nature as food. In fact, ferrous fumarate is so toxic that accidental overdose of products containing this form is “a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6.” The manufacturer further warns:

Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.


Finding hydrogenated oil in anything marketed to children is absolutely unacceptable. These semi-synthetic fatty acids incorporate into our tissues and have been linked to over a dozen adverse health effects, from coronary artery disease to cancer, violent behavior to fatty liver disease.


While it can be argued that the amount of GMO corn starch in this product is negligible, even irrelevant, we disagree. It is important to hold accountable brands that refuse to label their products honestly, especially when they contain ingredients that have been produced through genetic modification. The ‘vitamin C’ listed as ascorbic acid in Flintstones is likely also produced from GMO corn. Let’s remember that Bayer’s Ag-biotech division, Bayer CropScience, poured $381,600 of cash into defeating the proposition 37 GMO labeling bill in California. Parents have a right to protect their children against the well-known dangers of genetically modified foods and the agrichemicals that contaminate them, don’t they? GMO corn starch is GMO, plain and simple. We’d appreciate it if Bayer would label their “vitamins” accordingly.

In summary, Bayer’s Flintstone’s vitamin brand is far from a natural product, and the consumer should be aware of the unintended, adverse health effects that may occur as a result of using it.

That ‘Organic’ Peanut Butter Might Be Doing Irreparable Harm

Gaia Health
by Heidi Stevenson

Definitions of organic can often be inadequate, with peanut butter as a prime example. Most peanut butter labeled as organic can do immense harm to health. It isn’t that there’s anything inherently wrong with peanuts. It’s the way that the peanut butter is processed.

If the oil in peanut butter isn’t sitting at the top of the jar, then you should leave it on the shelf. If the oil doesn’t separate, it’s been hydrogenated. Hydrogenated oils are trans fats. The usual excuse is that it’s what customers want—but would most people object to mixing the oil into the mashed peanuts if they knew how harmful trans fats can be?

More importantly, why would producers be interested in spending the extra money involved in hydrogenation of peanut butter? You can be fairly sure that the public would be retrained to be happy with oil separating if there weren’t an advantage for them. After all, they had no trouble getting people to accept bananas that look less than perfect when it was to their advantage. The primary reason for hydrogenation is to lengthen shelf life. Longer shelf life translates into bigger profits.

So, Why Doesn’t the Label Show Trans Fats?

Agribusiness, with the full cooperation of your government, has ways of lying to get around the trans fat label on foods. Two tricks are employed in peanut and other foods.

Serving Size Trick

In the case of peanut butter—and other foods—one simple trick is to indicate trans fats only according to their so-called “serving size”.

If a 16 ounce jar of peanut butter contains 6.5 grams of trans fat, the label will state that it contains none! And it’s completely legal.

A peanut butter serving size is defined as two tablespoons, or 32 grams. A 16 ounce jar of peanut butter is about 454 grams, or about 14 servings. 6.5 grams of trans fat per jar comes to .45 grams of trans fat per serving.

The labeling law says that when there’s less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving, it can not only be unlabeled, but the label can state that it has no trans fat!

Now you know why portion sizes are so small. It facilitates label lies.

Hiding in Other Ingredients

Serving size is just one way of hiding trans fats. The other is by simply declaring that two other degraded fat products don’t contain trans fats—in spite of the fact that they do. Monoglycerides and diglycerides are often found on the labels of peanut butter and other processed foods.

First, let’s make clear that there is nothing wrong with natural mono- and diglycerides. They are, in fact, quite healthy. However, they can be—and in the case of processed foods, invariably are—treated by processing at very high temperatures for hours with hydrogen forced into them, which forms trans fats. That’s why they’re added to peanut butter. They’re hydrogenated so that they act as emulsifiers to control texture, fat separation, and most significantly—from the point of view of Agribusiness—they lengthen shelf life.

However, trans fats from mono- and diglycerides do not have to be revealed on labels!

Processed Food Isn’t Organic

When we think of organic foods, we think of fresh foods—and the term organic should, at a minimum, include freshness in its definition. Sadly, though, it doesn’t. As a result, an entire industry exists around the term, designed not to honor it, but to subjugate it. The term organic exists in Agribusiness for one purpose only: to convince people to pay higher prices for foods that, though they may have been grown by organic standards (though that’s doubtful, too), they most assuredly aren’t healthy. They’ve been sliced, diced, and processed until little is left of their nature or nutrient value.

Foods that are sitting on supermarket shelves in packages—including in the produce section—should all be treated as suspect. We need, desperately, to learn how to cook. We need to buy our foods directly from the source, when possible. And we need to purchase prepared foods from the source, not from supermarkets.

The stuff in supermarkets is, for the most part, not really food. It has calories and a few arbitrary and artificial nutrients added in. It bears little resemblance to what our forebears recognized as food. If we don’t pay attention and reverse this trend, we can expect to condemn not only ourselves, but also our children to lives of deteriorating health, pill-popping, and subjugation, because we won’t have the energy or mental ability to change it.

If you don’t want to end up like the woman in the picture at the top of the page, then it’s time to stop reading labels and start eating natural foods.