FSA reiterates baby advice on gluten due to coeliac evidence

Related tags Coeliac disease Infant

The UK’s Food Standards agency has reiterated its guidance to feed babies only breast milk or formula up to around six months of age, as there is evidence that there may be an increased risk of coeliac disease if gluten-containing foods are introduced too early.

Following a scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that the introduction of gluten into an infant’s diet by six months of age while still breastfeeding, might reduce the risk of developing coeliac disease and diabetes, the UK food safety agency asked its The Committee on Toxicity (COT) and Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) to examine the available evidence.

They concluded that:

  • Introducing gluten-containing foods before three months (13 weeks) might be linked to an increased risk of coeliac disease;
  • the evidence currently available is not strong enough to make specific recommendations about when gluten should be introduced into infants’ diets beyond three months of age;
  • the evidence is not strong enough to support a recommendation to introduce gluten before six months of age; there might be an increased chance of infants developing coeliac disease if they are not being breastfed when gluten is introduced into the diet.

The FSA said: “These findings do not change current government advice, but will be used to inform a wider SACN review of existing recommendations on infant and young child feeding, which will include the appropriate age for the introduction of solids.”