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The safety of at home powdered infant formula preparation: A community science project

Aimee Grant Orcid Logo, Sara Jones Orcid Logo, Vicky Sibson, Rebecca Ellis Orcid Logo, Abbie Dolling, Tara McNamara, Jonie Cooper, Susan Dvorak, Sharon Breward, Phyll Buchanan, Emma Yhnell, Amy Brown Orcid Logo

Maternal and Child Nutrition

Swansea University Authors: Aimee Grant Orcid Logo, Sara Jones Orcid Logo, Rebecca Ellis Orcid Logo, Amy Brown Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/mcn.13567

Abstract

Formula fed infants experience gastrointestinal infections at higher rates than breastfed infants, due in part to bacteria in powdered infant formula (PIF) and bacterial contamination of infant feeding equipment. The United Kingdom National Health Service (UK NHS) has adopted the World Health Organi...

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Published in: Maternal and Child Nutrition
ISSN: 1740-8695 1740-8709
Published: Wiley 2023
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa63444
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Abstract: Formula fed infants experience gastrointestinal infections at higher rates than breastfed infants, due in part to bacteria in powdered infant formula (PIF) and bacterial contamination of infant feeding equipment. The United Kingdom National Health Service (UK NHS) has adopted the World Health Organization recommendation that water used to reconstitute PIF is ≥70°C to eliminate bacteria. We used community science methods to co-design an at home experiment and online questionnaire (‘research diary’) to explore the safety of PIF preparation compared to UK NHS guidelines. 200 UK-based parents of infants aged ≤12 months were recruited; 151 provided data on PIF preparation, and 143 were included in the analysis of water temperatures used to reconstitute PIF. Only 14.9% (n = 11) of 74 PIF preparation machines produced a water temperature of ≥70°C compared with 78.3% (n = 54) of 69 kettle users (p < 0.001). The mean temperature of water dispensed by PIF preparation machines was 9°C lower than kettles (Machine M = 65.78°C, Kettle M = 75.29°C). Many parents did not always fully follow NHS safer PIF preparation guidance, and parents did not appear to understand the potential risks of PIF bacterial contamination. Parents should be advised that the water dispensed by PIF preparation machines may be below 70°C, and could result in bacteria remaining in infant formula, potentially leading to gastrointestinal infections. PIF labelling should advise that water used to prepare PIF should be ≥70°C and highight the risks of not using sufficiently hot water, per WHO Europe advice. There is an urgent need for stronger consumer protections regarding PIF preparation devices.
Keywords: Breast milk substitutes, child health, food safety, infant feeding, infant formula, PIF, powdered infant formula, public health
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Funders: United Kingdom Research and Innovation and the Food Standards Agency (Grant Number: BB/W009188/1).