Infant feeding: baby products would be too sweet

Jul 29, 2019
Sébastien Bouley

According to a recent WHO study,  baby foods in Europe would contain a high sugar content and would be marketed inappropriately.

The WHO has tested the nutritional quality of 7955 drinks or food products marketed for infants under 6 months of age and young children under 36 months of age in 516 shops in 4 cities of the WHO European (Vienna, Austria, Sofia, Bulgaria, Budapest).

In these 4 cities, between 28 and 60% of products have been marketed as suitable for infants under 6 months of age. Although EU legislation allows for this practice, the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the WHO guidance are against it. Indeed, these explicitly state that commercial supplement foods should not be sold as suitable for infants under 6 months of age.

In 3 of the cities mentioned above, half or more of the products provided more than 30% of the calories from total sugars and about one-third of them had sugar, concentrated fruit juices or other sweetening agents in their ingredients lists.

WHO has used this study to develop a draft Nutrient Profile Template for children aged 6 to 36 months to guide decisions about foods promoted inappropriately for this age group. This template has been submitted to Member States and stakeholders for review and discussion.

For more information,you can consult the WHO press release or the study report.

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