Ex­pert slams baby food

East and Bays Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - ELEANOR BLACK

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.’’

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