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At Sprout Organic, we believe that breast milk is unequivocally the best source of nutrition for infants. However, we also understand that breastfeeding is not always possible or the informed personal choice of all mothers, and in these circumstances a scientifically-developed infant formula that satisfies the nutritional requirements of babies is the only safe alternative.


INFANT FORMULA INGREDIENTS


While all formula sold in Australia needs to meet stringent nutritional and hygiene standards set by the Standard 2.9.1 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, the ingredients used to achieve these requirements can differ greatly. Most baby formulas on the market are made from dried cow's milk with vitamins, minerals and vegetable oils added. In addition to the required nutrients essential for growth and development, as set out in Standard 2.9.1, there may be additional ‘optional ingredients’ that are present in baby formulas that may set one formula apart from another.

THE SPROUT ORGANIC DIFFERENCE

Sprout Organic is the world’s first intolerance-friendly, certified organic plant-based formula on the market. Sprout Organic's infant formula is nutritionally complete for babies to consume from birth. The amount of energy, fats, vitamins, and minerals it contains has been validated to the FSANZ code by one of the largest food legal groups in Australia, in addition to undergoing a rigorous review process by third-party food technologists, paediatricians and dietitians.

Our formula was created to provide parents with an alternative to the current offerings on the market that was made from real, organic foods and which would be suitable for infants with food allergies and intolerances.


The protein make-up of our Sprout Organic’s certified organic, plant-based formulas is organic rice and pea protein. Our choice of using these two proteins was due to their bioavailability and complete amino acid profile when combined, making them superior to any ‘single’ plant source. They are also intolerance-friendly and therefore suitable to a wider number of infants, especially those with cow’s milk protein and soy allergies.

We use organic rice starch as the base ingredient and carbohydrate source for our formulas which is safe for infants to consume from birth. While the use of rice starch is uncommon in the southern hemisphere, it is very common in Europe and has represented a significant portion of its infant formula market for decades. Rice starch helps to thicken up formula and aid better digestion.

The oil used in Sprout Organic infant formula is both non-GMO and certified organic, which is different to conventional canola since it is free from chemical processing. When blended with other oils (in our case organic coconut) canola oil fulfills the gaps in the required fatty acid profile, and with it brings the many beneficial properties for a healthful formula, supporting brain and retina development.


Sprout Organic is continuing to work with relevant food bodies and leading infant formula experts to continue researching, lobbying and looking at further possible healthy, plant-based ingredients that could be used within infant formulas to push positive changes and continuously develop the best products we can.


ISSUES WITH PRODUCT LABELLING


Due to labelling restrictions on infant formula in Australia, labels on infant formula products do not provide sufficient information. A significant proportion of parents or carers who use infant formula say they do not receive enough information to help them decide which product is suitable for their child's dietary needs with 1 in 3 feeling that they received insufficient information when buying formula the first time (e.g. nutrients) in the formula they buy, and only 3% finding product labelling to be the most useful source of information when purchasing a formula.


Parents and carers who need to use infant formula should be able to make informed choices about the infant formula product they buy. On-pack information must be improved to contain more information about ingredients to enable people to tell products apart. The inclusion of such information is compatible with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (WHO Code) and its local interpretations. In other developed countries, such as Canada, the United States and Singapore, infant formula packaging can display information such as Omega 3 DHA, which helps support brain and eye development which enables parents to understand differences between brands and different products in a brand range. However, in Australia and New Zealand, including this information on packaging is currently prohibited. 


Research into the behaviour and needs of Australian mothers shows that 93% of mothers want to be kept informed of any changes in the composition of formula More information is needed on ingredients and nutritional composition. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is in the process of reviewing Standard 2.9.1 Infant Formula Products. Sprout Organic, as a member of the Infant Nutrition Council, proposes that this review includes improvements to existing labelling issues that can address the current lack of information on packaging available to parents and carers.


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