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Food Chem. 2011 Sep 1;128(1):123-8. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.03.005. Epub 2011 Mar 5.

Essential and trace elements content of commercial infant foods in the UK.

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School of Science, University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK. Electronic address:
School of Science, University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK.


There is a paucity of data in respect of the nutritional quality of complementary foods for infants and young children aged between 6 and 12months. The primary objective of this study was to examine nutritive values of such complementary infant food on the UK market in order to ascertain their suitability relative to dietary guidelines for the 6-9months age group. Quantitative analyses were conducted on eight different products representing four popular brands (meat and vegetable based) currently on sale in the UK. Eight major mineral and trace elements, namely: calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, sodium and selenium were measured by ICP-OES and ICP-MS. The results of these studies were referenced to the Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) values for 6-9months old children, and a menu of entire daily intake of minerals and trace elements was composed taking into consideration the nutrient and energy intake from milk consumption. Based on these comparisons, all the food samples studied in this work contained less essential minerals than expected from the RNI values except for potassium in meat and vegetable based recipes. These results suggest that commercial complementary infant foods on the UK market may not contain the minimum levels of minerals required for the labelling declaration of micronutrient content (Commission Directive 2006/125/EC). This provides opportunities and scope for product optimisation to improve their nutritive value.


Commercial infant food products; Complementary foods; ICP–MS; ICP–OES; Infants; Mineral content food labelling; Nutritional information

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