Commercial food products intended for infants form an important part of the diet. Such products are defined as special dietetic food by food legislation. However, quantitative consumption data in the context of the current European Community (EC) food regulations have not been available up to now.Methods:
Six hundred eighty 3-day weighed diet records from 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month-old infants involved in the DONALD (Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometrical Longitudinally Designed) Study were evaluated regarding overall and individual consumption of commercial infant food (CIF). Here, CIF was allocated to the food categories of the current EC directives.Results:
Four hundred eighteen varieties of infant food were recorded. The total CIF (formulae; beikost [any food or drink other than breast milk or infant and follow-on formulae]) reached percentages of the total food intake (including breast milk) of 51% (47%; 4%), 62% (33%; 29%), 53% (20%; 32%), and 37% (13%; 24%) at the ages of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months, respectively. Approximately 55% (95%) of the 3-month-old infants (range, 6-12 months) consumed some sort of CIF, but the highest amounts were observed at 6 months and the highest numbers of consumers at 9 months. Depending on the definition of "high consumers" of CIF, the individual consumption quantities (in grams per kilogram per day) differed by a maximum of 60% but high consumers were always found in the 6-month-old group.Conclusion:
The high proportions of CIF in the diet during a critical developmental period call for a guaranteed high nutritional and safety quality of CIF and for realistic data on consumption patterns.