New EU Regulations Regarding DHA In European Infant Formula


As most of our customers already know, the EU already has strict regulations regarding infant formula and its ingredients. Not only is there a limit to what can be added, but there are also nutrients and minerals that are required to be included. In the third quarter of 2020, the EU added more regulations regarding how baby milk is formulated. Before you get worried, there is nothing being taken out, for generations European infant formula has been amongst the healthiest alternatives to breast milk on the planet. The new regulations have simply increased some nutrient requirements that will make infant formula from the EU even more beneficial for growing babies. 

Changes To European Infant Formulas

European infant formulas have always included vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients to support proper development. In addition, the EU regulatory body has requested that all infant formula brands increase the levels of choline and Vitamin D in every stage. Follow-on infant formulas will also be required to include DHA in the mixture for every brand. All European infant formula already contains both Vitamin D and choline, most also contain DHA. The new regulations have simply called for an increase in concentrations. 

Why Have EU Infant Formula Regulations Changed?

The great thing about the science community is that they are always researching ways to help people stay healthy. This also included nutritional research on infant and child feeding. According to the most recent rounds of research, studies show that infants up to the age of 12 months can greatly benefit from additional vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA. This fatty acid is derived from whole fish oils and is key in proper brain development. 

The increase in Vitamin D and choline are in line with current health care models and the needs of the population. Many brands such as HiPP European infant formula already feature DHA as a key ingredient. Now all European infant formula brands and stages will have DHA on the ingredient list. This essential nutrient is the backbone of good infant health, and it is remarkable to see that the EU regulatory body acknowledges its importance. 

Why Have There Been Changes To The DHA Requirements?

The European Union takes infant health very seriously. The European Food Safety Authority pays close attention to infant nutrition and development and has made this decision based on current research. During pregnancy DHA is important to help support the development of a healthy nervous system after birth, infants need proper amounts of DHA from breast milk or fortified infant formula. This ensures that babies will get the right blend of fatty acids they need to have a robust brain and nervous system during the key stages of growth and development. 

Omega-3’s have a beneficial impact on several infant and child development factors such as:

  • Language
  • Cognition
  • Healthy retinal development,
  • Behavior
  • Visual acuity
  • Learning
  • Fine motor skills
  • Immune response to allergens

As good as DHA may be for children, the facts are that most infants and toddlers do not get anywhere near the amounts they deed. Young children would need to consume several servings of fish each week to get the minimum amount of omega-3s needed in their diet. Breastfeeding infants only get as much DHA as the mother consumes, which is why mothers often take supplements as long as they are breastfeeding. For bottle-fed infants, it is much easier to ensure proper DHA concentrations through regulation. 

What About Existing European Infant Formula?

Current stocks of European infant formula are still considered healthy and safe. This regulation is still new and applies to all new batches of infant formula. There is a deadline to roll out these changes over the next 12 months which will give both parents and European infant formula makers the time they need to finish existing stocks of infant formula. Most brands will upgrade their packaging as the new DHA-fortified formulas are rolled out.

There is no need to worry however, your favorite European infant formulas may be getting a slight upgrade and new packaging, but they are just as healthy as ever. Some infant formulas may feature a slight change in the taste or smell, but overall most infants will have no problem adapting to the new formulation. Depending on which brand and which type you prefer, feeding frequencies may also change. As always, check the label for preparation and feeding instructions each time you purchase a new bottle, jar, box, or can of infant formula. 

Keeping Up With Formula Changes

Changes to Holle, Nanny Care, HiPP, and Lebenswert infant formulas in addition to other brands can be tracked on their individual websites. Most brands will upgrade the packaging as new formulations hit the market, but others may simply put a “new recipe” indicator or label on the front of the package. Holle and Lebenswert infant formulas, in particular, have always included omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 additives, but not DHA specifically. As the changes roll out over all of the EU, they will contain Fish oil DHA in addition to ALA and LA. Holle Stage 3 infant formula will follow the same regulations as follow-on milk as opposed to infant formula. Holle goat milk infant formulas will also be dropping palm oil and adding DHA to the ingredient list. As always, changes in recipes often result in a change in preparation. Make sure to always read the label each time you prepare your infant's bottle. These new regulations, in particular, will affect the amount of water to powder used in infant bottles, so make sure to follow all new mixing ratios when you receive the new recipe. 

Keeping Current With Mommy Formula

Here at Mommy Formula we always want to make sure that you have the most up to date information regarding European infant formula. We endeavor to keep you updated with regulation changes, recalls, new product releases, and more. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the brands on our site, feel free to send us an email at

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