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The market of ready-made products for babies is very extensive. Ready-made dinners, desserts, porridges and milk reign among them. While they are usually well tolerated by healthy children, for children with allergies and potentially more vulnerable to intolerance due to genetic load, according to some allergologists, are not recommended. Why?
According to dr inż. Jadwiga Stankiewicz, who wrote an article titled "The presence of potential allergens in a selected group of dishes for babies" under the supervision of dr hab. Eng. Piotr Przybyłowski 44% of analyzed ready-made infant meals contained potential allergens.
Potential allergens in a child's diet
According to the Annex to the Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of 28.05.2008, the group of food ingredients that can cause food allergies include:
- cereals containing gluten,
- selected nuts and peanuts,
- soybean, milk,
- sesame seeds,
- lupins and molluscs.
The most common sources of food allergy in infants are: egg white protein cow's milk, wheat, soybeans and fish.
Jadwiga Stankiewicz assessed the presence of potential pathogens in ready-made second courses for infants based on the composition of the product given by the manufacturer on the packaging. She analyzed together 118 packages of second dinner dishes selected four leading producers of baby food: Babydream, BoboVita, Gerber and HIPP. At the same time, she conducted a survey on assessing the awareness of parents of children up to 12 months old about the presence of potential allergens present in ready meals for babies. The study included a group 146 people.
Allergy and jars
After analyzing the proposals of four brands, it turned out that products distributed in Rossmann networks, jars known under the brand Babydream, they had the lowest number of potential allergens present in infant dishes. The analysis of the packaging of these products showed that they were only present in them Pasta made from durum wheat and whole grain wheat.
A group of lunch dishes BoboVita, for children up to a year among sources of potential allergenic ingredients included milk, rennet ripening cheese (mozzarella and gouda), cod and salmon fish, pasta and wheat flour, wheat starch, eggs both whole and separately, yolk and protein, leaves and root of celery. Almost 65% of analyzed ready meals for infants contained potential allergens.
For example, Gerber's dishes were present milk, cream, rennet cheese, salmon, celery, pasta and dumplings made of wheat and eggs. Slightly more than half of the dishes of this company were characterized by the absence of allergenic substances. The next assessed group of infant lunch dishes included in their composition milk and cream, flour and pasta made from wheat, fish of sea origin and celery.
The producer of the HIPP company in the more than ¾ analyzed second dishes declared the absence of potential food allergens.
Are parents aware of potential allergens in ready meals?
"In my opinion, children's products are one of the better labeled food products on the domestic market, the only question remains whether all the information contained is understandable and legible for parents or guardians," says the author of the research we refer to, Dr. Jadwiga Stankiewicz.
After the study, it turned out that every fourth parent asked was unaware of the presence of allergenic substances in ready-made infant dinner dishes. Therefore, the awareness of parents and guardians of infants about the presence of potential allergenic substances in finished products is inadequate. Parents too rarely have knowledge of all potential allergens and how to include them in their diet. Meanwhile, according to current knowledge: early diagnosis of allergies, natural feeding, delayed introduction into the diet of products with a potential allergenic effect and awareness of infant parents in this regard play an important role in preventing allergic diseases.