Product & Export Management. EU - Dairy Products / EU Ingredients



Infant formula ingredients

The following is included in all formulas produced in the EU

Protein, Fat, Linoleic acid, Vitamins: A, C, D, E, K, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), B6, B12, Niacin, Folic acid, Pantothenic acid, Calcium, Minerals: magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, Phosphorus, Iodine, Sodium chloride, Potassium chloride, Carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for growing infants, as they account for 35 to 42% of their daily energy intake. In most cow's milk-based formulas, lactose is the main source of carbohydrates present, but lactose is not present in cow's milk-based lactose-free formulas nor specialized non-milk protein formulas or hydrolyzed protein formulas for infants with milk protein sensitivity. Lactose is also not present in soy-based formulas. Therefore, those formulas without lactose will use other sources of carbohydrates, such as sucrose and glucose, dextrins, and natural and modified starches. Lactose is not only a good source of energy, it also aids in the absorption of the minerals magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.


Nucleotides are compounds found naturally in human breast milk. They are involved in critical metabolic processes, such as energy metabolism and enzymatic reactions. Also, as the building blocks of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), they are essential for normal body functions. Compared to human breast milk, cow's milk has lower levels of the nucleotides uridine, inosine, and cytidine. Therefore, several companies that produce infant formula have added nucleotides to their infant formulas.

Other commonly used ingredients:

Emulsifiers and stabilizers: Ingredients added to prevent the separation of the oil from the water (and its soluble components) in the infant formula. Some commonly used emulsifiers include monoglycerides, diglycerides, and gums.


Skim milk is commonly used as the primary diluent in milk-based liquid formula to provide the bulk of the volume. In contrast, purified water is the most commonly used diluent in milk-free formulations. In addition, formulas not made with cow's milk include biotin, choline, and inositol.

Melamine (Contamination):

Health officials around the world have been on alert for melamine contamination in infant formula since the 2008 discovery of a massive case of melamine poisoning in China , where milk was deliberately adulterated with the chemical, leading to illnesses in more than 300,000 infants, including cases of acute kidney failure, and blamed for the deaths of at least six babies. Large quantities of melamine were added to watered-down milk to give it the appearance of having adequate protein levels.

Note (USA + China):

In November 2008, traces of melamine were reported to have been found by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in infant formula sold in the United States made by the three main American firms - Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson - responsible for 90-99% of the infant formula market in that country. The levels were much less than those reported in China 2011, where levels of melamine contamination had reached as much as 2,500 parts per million, about 10,000 times higher than the recorded US levels. The material safety data sheet for melamine (CAS registry number 108-78-1; C3-H6-N6) recorded the acute oral toxicity (median lethal dose) at 3161 mg/kg (3161 ppm) for a rat.

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