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Vitamin D in European baby formula to be reduced 17 percent – May 2019

Consumption of excessive amounts of these vitamins through food and beverages may prove risky for infant health


EC is concerned that infant might get toxic level, yet I am unaware of a single infant toxic dose that was not a result of getting 100X too much on a daily basis
Most other regions of the world are INCREASING Vitamin D recommendations

24 May 2019 - - The European Commission (EC) has set its recommended levels of vitamin D to 2,5 μg/100 kcal for infant and follow-on formula, in addition to decreeing that levels of erucic not exceed 0.4 percent of total fat content in food products. This was done in consideration of scientific research by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which outlined a potential risk should infants consume high amounts of these nutrients. These amendments involve Annexes I and II to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/127 and does not outline the specific health threats to infants exposed to excessive amounts of these nutrients through their diet.

Vitamin D content for infant formula set to 2,5 μg/100 kcal
Previously, EFSA concluded that the use of infant formula containing vitamin D at 3 μg/100 kcal, combined with additional vitamin D intakes through supplementation, may lead some infants aged up to 4 months to consume amounts of the vitamin above the tolerable upper intake level from the formula alone. This was iterated in the Authority’s Scientific Opinion of 28 June 2018 on the update of the tolerable upper intake level for vitamin D for infants.

Published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the amendments indicate that the use of a maximum vitamin D content of 2,5 μg/100 kcal in infant formula does not result in intakes of the vitamin above the tolerable upper intake level from the formula alone. “On the basis of that opinion, the maximum vitamin D content permitted under Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/127 for infant formula should be lowered to 2,5 μg/100 kcal,” reads the announcement.

Erucic acid content should not exceed 0.4 percent of the total fat content
In evaluating levels of exposure to erucic acid – a monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acid – among the EU population, the EFSA’s Scientific Opinion concluded that the 95th percentile dietary exposure level was highest in infants and other children. Based on this insight, the EC has said that erucic acid content shall not exceed 0.4 percent of the total fat content in food.

Erucic acid is not a safety concern for most consumers, as average exposure is less than half the safe level, according to a separate report published by the EFSA in 2016. However, the fatty acid may be a long-term health risk for children up to 10 years of age who consume high amounts of foods containing this substance. EFSA also found that levels of erucic acid present in animal feed may be a health risk for chickens.

The nutrient is present in the oil-rich seeds of the Brassicaceae family of plants, particularly rapeseed and mustard. The EFSA report cites that it mainly enters the food chain when rapeseed oil is used in industrial food processing and home cooking in some countries. It is ubiquitous in pastries, cakes and infant/follow-on formulae and also in some animal feed (e.g. rapeseed meal).

Although natural forms of rapeseed and mustard contain high levels of erucic acid (over 40 percent of total fatty acids), levels in rapeseed cultivated for food use are typically below 0.5 percent, the report notes.

Average consumer exposure ranges from 0.3 to 4.4 mg/kg body weight per day across age groups, the EFSA highlights. But among consumers with higher exposure, infants and other children could be exposed to up to 7.4 mg/kg body weight per day. The experts note, however, that they are likely to have overestimated this risk to account for limitations in the available scientific information.

For most consumers, especially for toddlers (1-2 years old) and other children (3-10), the main contributors to erucic acid exposure in the diet are pastries, cakes and biscuits. For infants (0-12 months), infant formulae is the main source.

In 1976, the EU set maximum limits for erucic acid as a contaminant in vegetable oils and fats, and foods containing added vegetable oils and fats as an ingredient. Moreover, specific maximum limits for infant formulae and follow-on formulae were set five times lower than for other foods. The recent risk assessment comes as part of a review of these maximum levels.

The bright side of vitamin D
Within the appropriate dosage, however, vitamin D remains an essential nutrient and may prove beneficial for young infants to grown adults of any age. In a study last year by the University of the Punjab, Pakistan and Queen Mary University, London, “the sunshine vitamin” was found to help facilitate healthy weight gain, along with the development of language and motor skills in malnourished children.

In other research, a study presented at the 57th Annual European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology Meeting and published The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition uncovered that children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have particularly low vitamin D levels and suffer from insufficiency throughout the year.

Dr. Bernadette Moore, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, tells NutritionInsight that although there have been a handful of studies in adult NAFLD suggesting minimal benefit from vitamin D supplementation, “a child’s liver is quite different and intervention with vitamin D earlier on could be effective.”

By Benjamin Ferrer

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