London: Micro-nutrients in readymade baby meals contain less than a fifth of the recommended daily supply of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and other minerals, says a new study.
The research took eight different sample jars produced by four popular brands from the shelves of leading supermarkets and analysed the micro-nutrient content, with a tool called an Inductivity Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer.
The samples included four meat and four vegetable varieties, one with pasta, but specific manufacturers were not identified, the Food Chemistry Journal reports.
The research by the University of Greenwich School of Science showed that infants given one meat jar and one vegetable jar on top of 600 ml of formula milk would not be getting enough calcium, magnesium, copper and selenium. On average, the levels were below 20 percent of the recommended daily supply.
Greenwich`s food science and nutrition specialist, Nazanin Zand, who conducted the research, said it was apparent that these complementary baby foods, when added to the daily milk supply, do not meet the recommended daily intake, according to a Greenwich statement.
She added: "This may be one of the reasons why manufacturers of complementary `ready to eat` infant meals do not declare the micro-nutrient contents of their products. It`s so important that babies are weaned from six months onwards with a healthy balance of complementary foods and breast milk, or follow-on formula at times when breast feeding is not possible."