Friday, January 29, 2010


About 212 million babies are born every year adding to the 6 billion population that live on this planet. Out of this 130 million new born babies are in regions where industry manufactured infant foods are marketed and consumed. Approximately 2 million tons of infant foods are made annually by the industry valued at more than $ 16 billion. In spite of the relentless campaign world over under the aegis of international bodies like World Health Organization (WHO), promoting consumption of breast milk, formulated baby foods based on cow's milk serve a useful purpose of supplementing the breast milk, especially towards the latter half of the first year after the birth. Concerned about the vast difference in nutrition between human milk and cow's milk, continuous efforts are made to upgrade the quality of manufactured baby foods by the international Food Chemicals Codex authorities.

"New standards to help ensure the quality and enhance the safety of key ingredients widely used in infant formulas and a variety of functional foods are being proposed for inclusion in the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), an internationally recognized compendium of quality standards for food ingredients. The proposed standards are for three nucleotides, present in breast milk and commonly added to infant formula, and two docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) oils, essential omega 3 fatty acids present in fish and often added to both infant formula and a host of functional foods. The proposed standards are now available for public review and comment by industry and consumer representatives".

There was a time in India, almost 5 decades ago when the Indians invested heavily to imitate western type baby foods using buffalo milk in stead of cow's milk which was the industry standard. The success of Amul baby food at that time, based on indigenous technology, was a land mark in the scientific achievements of the country. To day better understanding about pediatric nutrition and industry's prompt acceptance of many of new findings have made available products approximating human milk, though not completely.

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