New ISO infant formula ingredient standard adds to series enforcing baby food safety

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is developing a series of standards that verify ingredients contained in infant formula further addressing consumer health and fair food trade practices.

The standards, created in conjunction with international industry bodies, validate methods of analysing infant formula, which verify its make-up that ensure compliance to Codex standards.

Recently published is the ISO 21422 | IDF 242, which refers to milk, milk products, infant formula and adult nutritionals.

The standard determines the amount of chloride in these food products via a potentiometric titration method that features an analytical range of 0.35 milligrams (mg) chloride/100 grams (g) to 711.6 mg chloride/100 g product, or ready-to-feed products.


Developed alongside the International Dairy Federation (IDF), ISO 21422 | IDF 242 also enlisted the help of the independent standards developing organisation AOAC INTERNATIONAL.

Other series standards currently in development include ISO 21424 | IDF 243 Milk, milk products, infant formula and adult nutritionals – Determination of minerals and trace elements – Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) method.

Further series additions include Standard ISO 15151 | IDF 229 Milk, milk products, infant formula and adult nutritionals – Determination of minerals and trace elements – Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES method)

These standards are part of a wide range of international standards already published for verifying the contents of infant formula.

These include standards to determine fatty acid composition (ISO 16958 | IDF 231); total iodine (ISO 20647 | IDF 234); vitamin A and E (ISO 20633); vitamin B12 (ISO 20634); vitamin C (ISO 20635); vitamin D (ISO 20636); inositol (ISO 20637); nucleotides (ISO 20638); and pantothenic acid (ISO 20639).

“These standards provide an effective way of demonstrating compliance with national and international regulations as they represent a globally harmonized method of testing, in line with other standards-developing organizations in the sector, such as AOAC INTERNATIONAL and the International Dairy Federation (IDF),” ​said Erik Konings, convenor of the working group that developed the standards.

‘Ensuring the safety and quality of products’

Commenting that the standards would be of use to regulators and commercial laboratories, as well as manufacturers of infant formula and milk products, Konigs added, “They were developed as there were no completely internationally agreed and harmonized standards of this kind”.

“They will thus help to ensure the safety and quality of products for consumers as well as facilitating their trade on the global market.”

ISO 20635 and ISO 20636 were two of a series of ISO International Standards developed as part of the SPIFAN project (Stakeholder Panel on Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals).

The project, managed by AOAC INTERNATIONAL in cooperation with ISO and the IDF, aims to develop standard method performance requirements and methods of analysis for 20 or more priority nutrients in infant formula and adult nutritionals.

The standards were developed by working group WG 14, Vitamins, carotenoids and other nutrients​, of technical committee ISO/TC 34, Food products​, the secretariat of which is held by AFNOR and ABNT, ISO’s members for France and Brazil.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Ingredients

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