New research from the World Health Organization (WHO/Europe) shows that a high proportion of baby foods are incorrectly marketed as suitable for infants under the age of six months, and many contain inappropriately high levels of sugar.
Data on 7,955 food or drink products marketed for infants and young children from 516 stores in four cites in the WHO European Region (Vienna, Austria; Sofia, Bulgaria; Budapest, Hungary; and Haifa, Israel) were collected between November 2017 and January 2018.
In all four cities, between 28 and 60 per cent were marketed as being suitable for infants under the age of six months.
Although this is permitted under European Union law, it does not comply with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes or WHO Guidance. Both explicitly state that commercial complementary foods should not be marketed as suitable for infants under six months of age.
In three of the cities, at least half of the products provided over 30 per cent of the calories from total sugars.
The WHO has developed a draft Nutrient Profile Model (NPM) for children aged six to 36 months to guide decisions about which foods are inappropriate for promotion for this age group.