French call to food industry: Cut infant exposure to nine substances

French food safety agency ANSES has released the results of its third total diet studies (TDS), this time devoted to the diet of children under three years of age, a more vulnerable population consuming specific foods for which few data are available. It thus scrutinised the diet of children, analysing nearly 670 substances and characterising the risk for 400 of them. Even at the international level, this is the first study on such a scale to focus on children under three years of age.
In light of the findings of the present study, the Agency stresses the importance of following up the recommendations of the National Health and Nutrition Programme (PNNS), in particular, not to introduce any foods other than infant formulas before 6 months and, subsequently, to vary the diet and sources of supply. In addition, the Agency reiterates that only breast milk or infant formulas can cover an infant’s needs. Normal milk, regardless of the
animal species that produced it, is not suited to the nutritional needs of children under one year of age.
However, for nine substances, the situation calls for particular vigilance. These are substances for which a nonnegligible number of children are subject to exposure higher than the toxicity reference values (inorganic arsenic, lead, nickel, PCDD/Fs, PCBs, T-2 & HT-2 mycotoxins, acrylamide, deoxynivalenol and its derivatives, and
furan). For seven other substances, in particular aluminium, cobalt, strontium, methylmercury, selenium, cadmium and
genistein in soy consumers, the risk cannot be ruled out. Exposure to some of these 16 substances had already been identified as a concern in the Agency’s earlier work.