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How is baby formula regulated?

Every country regulates infant formula through local food health and safety laws and guidelines. Because infant formula is the primary, if not only, source of nutrition for many children under the age of 12 months, most governments and health agencies are keen to impose strict regulations on how it's produced and may require companies to register before. Baby formula companies have to register with the FDA before they can market any of their products.

What kinds of regulations is baby formula subject to?

Baby formula is generally regulated for both nutrition and safety. 

In terms of nutrition, government regulations will usually require a formula to have particular nutrients in the right balance to support babies’ growth and health, though there may be exemptions for specific formula products that meet a particular medical or dietary need, such as allergy-specific formula. This applies both to branded formula and generic formula sold by specific store chains.

In terms of safety, regulations usually require a “use by” date on all baby formulas. This means that the product must be consumed on or before the date stamped on the package. Any consumption after that date can have consequences to your baby. The nutritional value will decrease as the product will start to deteriorate and go bad. There are also health and safety concerns with expired products.

Are European Baby Formula Brands Approved by other countries?

No. Each country has its own regulations and has no control beyond the borders.

Which Organization Regulates Baby Formula from Europe?

The European Commission is responsible for the nutrition and food safety of the countries in the European Union. In 2016, the Commission updated their regulations regarding infant formula and follow-on formulas for the nutritional requirements and safety guidelines. One provision specifically restricts or prohibits pesticides or pesticide residues in both types of formula.

What Does This Mean for Your Baby Formulas Choices?

If you are concerned about nutrition and food safety, you can be confident that most countries regulate formula production and have minimum standards. However, European standards for formula are generally higher than those in other countries, so don't let the fact that European baby formulas such as Hipp, Holle, Lebenswert, or Loulouka aren't approved in your country deter you from buying these products.

Edited and reposted from April 2018

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