Infant milk is poorly tested 4 out of 5 times, warns this study (photo illustration)

CHILDREN – Infant milk, sold to young parents to replace breastfeeding, are generally poorly tested and therefore risk being accompanied by misleading claims in terms of nutrition, warns this Thursday, October 14 a study published in the British Medical Journal.

These substitutes, for example made from cow’s milk proteins, represent a growing market in the world. They promise to provide the infant with food equivalent to its mother’s milk.

Infant milk producers must therefore systematically conduct clinical trials to prove that their product nourishes the baby well enough. But “(these) tests are not reliable”, conclude the authors of a study published in the BMJ. It examined the conduct of 125 trials conducted since 2015. For four-fifths of them, there are enough gaps to doubt their conclusions.

Producers too closely involved in the studies

For example, multiple trials do not specify before they take place what needs to be evaluated. To be credible, a good clinical trial must, on the contrary, be clear from the start about its objective, otherwise the researcher may be tempted to retain only what suits him.

Another problem is that some trials arbitrarily exclude infants from the test group. This raises concerns about a distorted comparison.

In the end, “the conclusions are almost always favorable”, stress the authors, who consider that the producers are too closely involved in the studies, at the risk of a lack of independence.

They also believe that the trials lack safeguards to ensure that tested infants are not at risk, including undernutrition.

It is necessary “to change in a consequent way the way in which the tests (…) are carried out and are then the subject of publications, so (…) that consumers do not suffer from misleading information”, concludes the study. .

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