Micro-nutrient content in ready-made baby meals contained less than a fifth of the recommended daily supply of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and other minerals. This was revealed through new research from the University of Greenwich, School of Science.
The team investigated the micro-nutrient content, using an instrument called an Inductivity Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer used for analysis of elements in food.
For this purpose the research took eight different sample jars produced by four popular brands from the shelves of leading supermarkets.
Specific manufacturers were not identified for the samples that included four meat and four vegetable varieties, one with pasta.
Infants given one meat jar and one vegetable jar on top of six hundred milliliters of formula milk would not be getting enough calcium, magnesium, copper and selenium, the research showed. The levels were below twenty percent of the recommended daily supply, on average.
Dr N Zand, who conducted the research, for the university’s food science and nutrition specialist in her concluding report, said it was apparent that these complementary baby feeds do not meet the recommended daily intake when added to the daily milk supply.
“This may be one of the reasons why manufacturers of complementary ‘ready to eat’ infant meals do not declare the micronutrient contents of their products. This may provide opportunities and scope for both product and process optimizations to improve the nutritive value”, she added.
“It’s so important that babies are weaned from six months onwards with a healthy balance of complementary foods and breast milk, or follow-on formula at times when breast feeding is not possible.
“Our investigations showed that there was a need to improve the nutritional value of some complementary baby feeds. In addition, the regulations governing them need to be tighter and more robust.”