A number of five different samples of baby foods were analysed using an Atomic Absorption Spectromer for the presence of Cr, Cd, Cu, Pb, and As. All the results were compared with the data from their label and proposed guideline published by WHO in 2013 ( see Table 4.1.2)Pb and As were not detected. The five samples, A to E contain the highest amount of Cu (141.6, 174.0, 207.7, 136.9, 132.0mg/kg) respectively, which is a traced element and it is within the provisional maximum tolerable daily intake of 50 to 500mg/kg set by WHO. Cr was only detected in only three samples, A B and C (6.4,6.3,10.0mg/kg) respectively, and it below the provisional tolerable monthly intake of 25mg/kg set by WHO . Cd was detected in all the five samples A, B,C,D,E ( 3.9,3.2,2.2,3.0,4.9mg/kg) respectively and it is below the provisional tolerable monthly intake of 25mg/kg set by WHO. The result of this study shows that baby food products samples sourced from Eke-Awka market are adequate in essential elements of copper, and toxic heavy elements of Cd and Cr are within safety limits permissible by WHO. Pb and As which are very toxic were not detected at all.





1.1     Brief Introduction

Baby food is any soft, easily consumed food, other than breast milk and infant formula that is made specifically for babies, roughly between the ages of four to six months and two years (WHO, 2011). The food comes in multiple varieties and tastes; it may be table food that the rest of the family is eating that has been mashed or otherwise broken down, or it can be purchased ready-made from producers.

As of 2011, the world health organization, UNICEF and many National health agencies recommended waiting until six months of age before starting a child on food. Individual babies may differ from this guideline given when the child is developmentally ready to eat. Signs of readiness include the ability to sit without help, loss of tongue thrust, and the display of active interest in food that others are eating.

As a global public health recommendation, the world health organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Most six-month-old infants are physiologically and developmentally ready for new foods, textures and mode of feeding. Experts advising the world health assembly have provided evidence that introducing solids earlier than six months increases babies’ chances of illness, without improving growth.

One of the concerns associated with the introduction of solid foods before six months is Iron deficiency. The early introduction of complementary foods may satisfy the hunger of the infant, resulting in less frequent breastfeeding and ultimately less milk production the mother. Because Iron absorption from human milk is depressed when the milk is in contact with other foods in the proximal small bowel, early use of compulsory foods may increase the risk of Iron depletion and anaemia.

Nutritional Needs and the Amount of Food

Newborns need a diet of breast milk or infant formula. About 40% of the food energy in these milks comes from carbohydrates, mostly from a simple sugar called lactose.

As shown in the 2008 feeding infants and Toddlers study, the overall diet of babies and Toddlers, the primary consumers of baby food, generally meets or significantly exceeds the recommended amount of macronutrients. Toddlers and preschoolers generally ate too much little dietly fibre, and preschoolers generally ate too much saturated fat, although the overall fat intake was lower than the recommended l. Macronutrients levels were typically within the recommended levels. A small group of older infants in the American study needed more Iron and Zinc, such as from Iron-fortified baby foods. A substantial proportion of toddlers and preschoolers exceeded the upper recommended level of synthetic foliate, preformed vitamin A, zinc, and sodium (salt).

The world health organization recommends starting in small amounts that gradually increases as the child gets older; 2 to 3 meals per day for infants 6 to 8 months of age and 3 to 4 meals per day for infants 9 to 23 months of age, with 1 or 2 additional snacks as required.

1.2     Background of Study

Heavy metals contamination has been an issue within the food and foodstuffs industry due to unregulated food storage, transportation and manufacturing processes.

The toxic metals of interests are cadmium, lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium tin, etc. Some of these are phytotoxic (can be accumulated within plant life) and all of them have hazardous toxic responses.

Apart from the breast milk, infant formula and baby weaning food have a special role in infant diet. Infants and young children are very susceptible to amount of trace elements. Copper and zinc are two elements that add in infant food. Lead and cadmium are heavy metals that enter to food chain unavoidably (Goyer, 2001).

Zinc deficiency can cause to decrease immune system delayed in growth and hypogonadism. Excess of zinc results in nausea, vomiting and headache. Either copper deficiency, accompanied by failures in collagen, elastin reticulation and problems in tissues, especially in arteries. Its excess can cause to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cirrhosis and anemia. Some of heavy metals like lead and cadmium enter in the food᾽s chain naturally and it is unavoidable. Infants and young children are the most risky group to these metals. Lead is a known neurotoxin for infant, and can cause to reduced IQ, learning disabilities and irreversibly effects development of the nervous system. Cadmium leads to kidneys disfunction and has estrogenic propreties. International organization such as Unicef 1999, emphasise on control and assessment of babies᾽food product᾽s by purpose of healthy. Differential pulse voltammetry has been widely used for trace metal measurement in food samples.

1.3     Aims and Objectives of Study

The aim of this study is to assess the level of heavy metals present in the five different samples of baby foods sourced from the Eke-Awka market. Objective of the study includes:

  1. To ascertain the level of heavy metals present in the baby foods samples
  2. To compare the result obtained with the WHO recommended standard
  3. To check if some baby foods in the market are safe from heavy metal contamination
  4. To give data on the heavy metal contaminant in baby foods.

1.4     Significance of the Study

Heavy metals become toxic when they are not metabolized by the body and accumulate in the soft tissues. Commonly encountered heavy metals that are toxic includes; arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium etc. It is of great important to keep the baby foods save from these heavy metal contamination which will otherwise be injurious to our babies.

1.5     Scope of the study

The scope of this study covers the analysis of five common heavy metals in five different sample of baby food sourced from Eke- Awka market, Anambra state