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A new study published in the Food Chemistry journal found minute amounts of antibiotics, fungicides and antiparasitic drugs in meat-based baby food and infant formula due to drug residues given to the livestock. Though the traces were very small, this is still worrisome since these veterinary drugs can cause allergic reactions, resistance to antibiotics and other health problems to infants. Other recent infant formula concerns have been GMO ingredients and traces of arsenicaluminum, and BPA found in the formula.


In the study, researchers from the University of Almería (Spain) developed a system to analyse drug residues from livestock. While testing their system, the researchers found the traces of antibiotics, such as tilmicosine, and antiparasitic drugs, such as levamisole.

“The concentrations detected have been generally very low. On one hand, this suggests they are not worrying amounts, on the other hand, it shows the need to control these products to guarantee food safety” Antonia Garrido, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at UAL, pointed out to SINC.

Though name brands were not mentioned, the researchers tested 9 milk powder samples and 12 meat products (cow, pig or poultry). The data collected indicated that concentrations of these drugs varies from 0.5 to 25.2 µg/kg in the former and 1.2 to 26.2 µg/kg in the latter. The researchers also found higher concentrations in poultry products. Sulfonamides, macrolides and other antibiotic traces, as well as anthelmintics (anti-worm) and fungicides were also found. In total, the researchers found 5 veterinary drugs in milk powder and 10 in meat products, especially if they were chicken or other poultry.

There are ways you can try to avoid veterinary drugs in your baby’s food:

  • Breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and continue breastfeeding 2 years and beyond. If you aren’t able to breastfeed, check out our Guide to Organic Formula.
  • Make your own baby food from organic ingredients, this includes all meat. Get to know your local farmers and their practices. If you purchase meat, make sure they do not use antibiotics or other drugs. And find out the company policy what happens when an animal gets sick.

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