Novel Approaches to Improve the Intrinsic Microbiological Safety of Powdered Infant Milk Formula

Kent et al, Nutrients. 2015 Feb

Abstract

Human milk is recognised as the best form of nutrition for infants. However; in instances where breast-feeding is not possible, unsuitable or inadequate, infant milk formulae are used as breast milk substitutes. These formulae are designed to provide infants with optimum nutrition for normal growth and development and are available in either powdered or liquid forms. Powdered infant formula is widely used for convenience and economic reasons. However; current manufacturing processes are not capable of producing a sterile powdered infant formula. Due to their immature immune systems and permeable gastro-intestinal tracts, infants can be more susceptible to infection via foodborne pathogenic bacteria than other age-groups. Consumption of powdered infant formula contaminated by pathogenic microbes can be a cause of serious illness. In this review paper, we discuss the current manufacturing practices present in the infant formula industry, the pathogens of greatest concern,Cronobacter and Salmonella and methods of improving the intrinsic safety of powdered infant formula via the addition of antimicrobials such as: bioactive peptides; organic acids; probiotics and prebiotics.Human milk is recognised as the best form of nutrition for infants. However; in instances where breast-feeding is not possible, unsuitable or inadequate, infant milk formulae are used as breast milk substitutes. These formulae are designed to provide infants with optimum nutrition for normal growth and development and are available in either powdered or liquid forms. Powdered infant formula is widely used for convenience and economic reasons. However; current manufacturing processes are not capable of producing a sterile powdered infant formula. Due to their immature immune systems and permeable gastro-intestinal tracts, infants can be more susceptible to infection via foodborne pathogenic bacteria than other age-groups. Consumption of powdered infant formula contaminated by pathogenic microbes can be a cause of serious illness. In this review paper, we discuss the current manufacturing practices present in the infant formula industry, the pathogens of greatest concern,Cronobacter and Salmonella and methods of improving the intrinsic safety of powdered infant formula via the addition of antimicrobials such as: bioactive peptides; organic acids; probiotics and prebiotics