The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (June 28) announced the test results of a study on follow-up formula products intended for infants and young children aged six months or above. Among the 89 products studied, except for a product from Taiwan, all products have fulfilled the nutritional composition requirements of Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) (see attached table), or those of the countries of origin. Nevertheless, risk assessment did not indicate health concern on infants and young children from the product.
In the study started earlier this year, the CFS collected samples of follow-up formula products intended for infants and young children aged six months or above available in the local market to test their content of energy and 25 nutrients.
A spokesman for the CFS noted that the Government has all along been promoting breastfeeding and encouraging parents to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life. However, after about six months of age, breastmilk or infant formula alone can no longer meet the baby's nutritional requirements. Complementary food has to be introduced for extra nutrients required.
From six months of age, infant starts weaning and learn to eat solid foods. Infants and young children gradually change from a purely milk-based diet to one which contains all varieties of food. At the beginning of the weaning period, breastmilk or infant formula is still the main source of nutrition for infants. If not breastfed, these infants could continue to be fed with infant formula. As infants and young children get more adept in chewing and the amount of solid foods consumed increases, the amount of milk intake can be decreased gradually. By one year old, children should be enjoying a balanced diet, with a good variety of solid foods that replaces milk as the main source of nutrients. They could now switch to cow's milk.
The World Health Organization recommends that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. The Department of Health considers that infants who are not breastfed could take infant formula until the age of one. For children above one, milk is only a part of their balanced diet. They may switch to cow's milk. Currently there is inadequate scientific evidence to suggest the use of follow-up formula for children above 6 months from the nutrition point of view.
The spokesman said, "A product from Taiwan labelled as a growing-up formula was found to have energy and 14 nutrients below the requirement of Codex Standards for Follow-up Formula. Nonetheless, according to the product description, the product is intended to be added to existing formula product when it is consumed by infants aged six to 12 months for more nutrients. Parents should read product labels carefully when choosing a product, and pay attention to the instruction of use.
"The nutritional composition of all the other products have either fulfilled the Codex requirements or fulfilled those of the countries of origin," the spokesman added.
"Parents should note that follow-up formula is a food marketed for use for infants from the sixth month onwards. These infants and young children should have a variety of foods for adequate and balanced nutrition."
For complementary feeding of infants and young children above six months of age to ensure that they obtain sufficient nutrients, parents can refer to "Feeding babies and young children (6 months to 2 years old)" of the Department of Health at
Detailed results of the study are available on the CFS webpage:
Ends/Friday, June 28, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:02