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Baby food: nutrients analysis
August 03 2022

Baby food: nutrients analysis


Infants and toddlers in early childhood are vulnerable consumers and susceptible to micronutrient deficiencies; proper nutrition during early youth is indeed crucial for healthy and proper development.

Baby food includes several categories of products specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of this consumers’ category, and according to European regulations are divided into:

  • Infant formula
  • Follow-on formula
  • Cereal-based food intended for infants or young children
  • Other baby food
  • Young-child formula

The most regulated food products in the world

The category of baby food is the most regulated in the world, precisely because of the susceptibility of consumers who require specific formulations for healthy and compliant growth, especially when breast milk alone begins to be inadequate and the baby requires the introduction of other foods for optimal development.

Therefore, nutritional components of baby food are strictly regulated to ensure the proper bioavailable mix of nutrients with no possible harmful substances inside. Admitted micro and macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins and other ingredients) are listed, as well as their possible source, content and relevant amount, with maximum and minimum limits, where necessary.

Methods for determining major nutrients in baby food: AOAC SPIFAN

This food category requires standardization, precision and sensitivity, even from an analytical point of view. This is why AOAC has established a specific group of experts, the SPIFAN (Stakeholder Panel on Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals), supported by the industry category, in order to set analytical criteria that represent standard methods for major nutrients in foods for infants and adults.

AOAC SPIFAN methods have been published by various organizations such as AOAC INTERNATIONAL, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the International Dairy Federation (IDF), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and are recommended to CODEX Alimentarius as reference methods.

For alignment and compliance with these requirements, it is important for the baby food industry to rely on laboratories that use SPIFAN methods.

The full analytical service of Mérieux NutriSciences

For many years supporting the baby food industry in analysis of composition, contaminants and residues, microbiology, shelf life studies and research, Mérieux NutriSciences is a reliable partner of excellence and ensures compliance with legal requirements, prevention of potential trade disputes and public health issues through the application of AOAC SPIFAN methods.

Contact us for more information on our analytical offer for baby food.

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