Expert slams baby food
Commercial baby foods are not ‘‘good enough’’ and many of them should be avoided, says a child health expert.
Dr Julie Bhosale analysed 1500 products in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom in February. She found 15 per cent of the products had added sugar.
Empty fillers such as rice were used to bulk out many baby foods and excess salt was a problem too.
‘‘Considering these are for infants from 4 to 6 months of age and they’re the first foods they have tried, it is extremely worrying,’’ Bhosale said.
She recommended caregivers make baby food at home, pureeing soft vegetables and iron sources such as meat.
Plunket national clinical advisor Karen Magrath said it worked with families to help them choose baby foods with no added fat, salt, sugar or other sweetners.
‘‘Our advice, based on Ministry of Health and WHO guidelines, is that commercially prepared food appropriate to the age of your child can be part of a balanced diet.‘‘
A spokesman for the Food and Grocery Council said ‘‘the majority of baby foods do not contain any added sugars‘‘.
‘‘There is a wide variety of foods available, including a significant number of savoury and vegetable foods. Formal recommendations for first foods for babies in New Zealand include fruits and vegetables.’’