We tested the hypothesis that the lipid composition of infant formula is consistent between manufacturers, countries and target demographic. We developed techniques to profile the lipid and glyceride fraction of milk and formula in a high throughput fashion. Formula from principal brands in the UK (2017–2019; bovine-, caprine-, soya-based), the Netherlands (2018; bovine-based) and South Africa (2018; bovine-based) were profiled along with fresh British animal and soya milk and skimmed milk powder. We found that the lipid and glyceride composition of infant formula differed by region, manufacturer and date of manufacture. The formulations within some brands, aimed at different target age ranges, differed considerably where others were similar across the range. Soya lecithin and milk lipids had characteristic phospholipid profiles. Particular sources of fat, such as coconut oil, were also easy to distinguish. Docosahexaenoic acid is typically found in triglycerides rather than phospholipids in formula. The variety by region, manufacturer, date of manufacture and sub-type for target demographics lead to an array of lipid profiles in formula. This makes it impossible to predict its molecular profile. Without detailed profile of the formula fed to infants, it is difficult to characterise the relationship between infant nutrition and their growth and development.
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