Codex sets global standards for child formula: Industry body calls for EU adoption

The global body for food standards, guidelines and codes of practice, Codex Alimentarius, has published an updated standard on follow-up formula (breastmilk substitutes) for older infants aged 6-12 months, and ‘products’ (liquid of powdered drinks) for young children aged one and three​.

The new standards, formally adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission​ in December 2023 after more than 10 years of work, cover nutritional composition, quality, safety, labelling, hygiene, contaminants, analytical and sampling requirements and more. 

There are no comparable rules for Young Child Formula in the EU and Codex texts are voluntary so do not have binding effect on national food legislation.

SNE argues these rules are essential for the establishment of strict, specific and science-based composition criteria for Young Child Formula (YCF) for infants aged one to three as there are currently no standards on nutritional composition of formula products for young children in the EU, only for formula for infants aged up to 12 months.

“For Young Child Formula, the number of mandatory micronutrients has been reduced compared to follow up formula, with 8 mandatory micronutrients (vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, vitamin C, iron, calcium and zinc),” Beat Späth, SNE’s Secretary General told NutraIngredients. 

“From a macronutrient perspective, energy is decreased, protein is decreased, a maximum is established for available carbohydrates and the fat content is adjusted. This represents a major global reformulation exercise that will align these products to the latest science in countries that will implement these new requirements.”