Is European Formula Better than American Baby Formula?
If you’re a new parent, you may be realizing that no two baby formulas are created equal. Who
knew choosing a baby formula could be so difficult with so many choices out there?
One of the things that many parents is noticing are the differences between European and
American baby formulas. But, is one necessarily better than the other?
We’re going to look at the differences so you can decide for yourself.
American Baby Formula
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates commercial infant formulas to make sure
they meet minimum nutritional and safety requirements. Standards that American baby formula
are held to are not as high as those in Europe. This is one of the reasons why some parents are
beginning to switch to European baby formulas.
Also, the FDA only regulates minimal nutrient requirements for baby formulas. This includes 29
nutrients, of which only 9 must meet maximum amounts. It’s also important to note that
American baby formula manufacturers are allowed to add a variety of sugars as well as corn
syrup and corn syrup solids. There have been concerns over allowing these ingredients in baby
formulas because of the effects sugars can have on a child’s growth and childhood obesity.
American formulas tend to contain more iron than European formulas. The American Academy
of Pediatrics recommends a higher iron level to prevent iron deficiency in babies.
Both the FDA and the European Commission, which regulates baby formula in Europe, require
that formulas closely mimic breast milk to promote infant growth and development. One of the
ways this is done is to assure that the formula includes lactose which is the main carbohydrate
found in breast milk.
European Baby Formula
One of the main reasons why people are drawn to European baby formula is because of the
different standards it is held to compared to American baby formula. The European Commission
has stricter guidelines when it comes to what can and can not be included in baby formula.
The European Commission does not allow corn syrup or corn syrup solids in European baby
formula. American formulas can include this. The European Commission also has a shortlist of
what it will allow when it comes to carbohydrate sources. These include:
● Glucose Syrup
Another distinction when it comes to European baby formula is that at least 30% of
carbohydrates in infant formula must come from lactose. Lactose is the primary carbohydrate
source in breast milk. This is why many European formulas mimic breast milk so closely. The
U.S. does not have the same requirement when it comes to the amount of lactose formula must
contain, although formulas made in the U.S. do include lactose.
Here are some other rules the European Commission has laid out when it comes to baby
● Sucrose can only be used as a carbohydrate in formulas with hydrolyzed proteins.
● All carbohydrate sources must be gluten-free.
● Fat can’t come from sesame seed or cottonseed oil.
● Formula can not contain fillers from gums or soluble fibers (pectin and fructan).
● All infant formulas for babies through 12 months contain DHA.
● L-Carnitine is added to formula to help energy metabolism.
European baby formulas also typically include amino acids and probiotics that may not also be
found in U.S. formulas.
As you’re shopping, you’ll also find that European baby formula also offers goat milk varieties.
This can be an option for babies who have an allergy to cow’s milk or have trouble digesting
products made from cow’s milk. But, you’ll want to check with your pediatrician before trying any
new type of formula.
It’s also important to mention that the FDA does not monitor products that have been recalled
internationally and the FDA has not approved them. So, if a European baby formula were to get
recalled for whatever reason, you would have to research that information.
American vs. European Baby Formula: Things to Consider
When comparing American and European baby formulas, it’s important to remember these key differences:
- European formula will not contain corn syrup or corn syrup solids.
- There are stricter nutrient requirements in European formulas.
American formulas tend to contain more iron.
- Both formulas aim to mimic breast milk.
- European formula offers more goat milk varieties.
As you go through the list, think about the things that are most important for you and your
baby’s nutrition. If you are concerned with added sugars, then you may want to opt for
European baby formula. If you like the fact that European baby formulas have stricter nutrient
standards then you’ll want to lean that way as well.
If you decide that European baby formula is best for your baby, check out the brands sold at
Organic Baby Formula. We offer varieties from Holle, HiPP, and Jovie. All of our products are
made with the best organic ingredients and no preservatives or artificial sweeteners.