05 Apr Infant Formula. Regulation and traceability
Although many experts believe that breastfeeding is the best choice for infants, baby formula is also a healthy alternative that provides them with the nutrients they need for growth. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends that they should exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life. Afterwards, babies should receive adequate complementary foods. Besides this debate, over the past few years, there have been different scandals affecting infant formula. Bearing in mind its importance, the infant feeding industry can’t afford mistakes.
Because of the growth in this industry and its globalization, regulations are required in order to ensure the nutritional adequacy and proper production and traceability of infant formula. In his study about global infant formula, George Kent notes that while death or disease associated with the unsafe use of baby formula are easy to notice, long-term impacts, such as being overweight or cognitive impairment, as a result of nutritional inadequacy usually are neither appreciated nor described as safety issues. Kent’s study itself focuses on the importance of giving attention not only to the dangers, but also to benefits that are expected but not obtained.
Many governments have adopted a specific regulation on infant formula production. In the United States of America, the Food and Drugs Administration has established some requirements for production processes of this food that include quality factors, quality control procedures, and good manufacturing practice. On the same subject, the EU published a report in 2003 concerning the essential requirements of infant formula, such as its energy, protein or fat content. On the other hand, after the melamine scandal in 2008 when six babies died as a result of consuming contaminated milk powder, China released the Food Safety Law. This regulation also focuses on the manufacturing process of baby formula, but the main emphasis is on its traceability.
Beyond its manufacturing processes and its content, traceability of infant formula is another concern. Baby formula should be tracked during its production and distribution, including the source of raw materials, additives and packaging. In case a potential contamination or a safety issue shows up, traceability enables the detection of the source of the problem, and its mitigation. Most baby formula brands have traceability measures, such as labelling, in order to guarantee the proper operation of its supply chain, especially considering the involvement of international traders in the process. All operators who participate in the supply chain, as a buyer or a seller, must identify their suppliers and their customers. Hence, if problems occur, the cause will be easily identified.
With all such laws and regulations, and traceability and safety concerns, the current market for infant formula is complex. Companies need support to enter new countries, and comply with different regulations and standards. At allfoodexperts®, we can help them either by solving their challenges or by seeking experts all over the world to advise them. Such is the case of a Slovenian company which has published a challenge on our hub about these products.
If you are a formulator interested in helping companies to solve challenges related to infant formulat products or a company looking for solutions in the field, click here and visit our hub. Contact with the best talent worldwide!