History Of Foods And Feeding Practice

Infant foods have evolved largely parallel to the development of food science and technology, and the implementation of food safety and food processing practices has dramatically influenced the availability of safe foods. Before 1800 about two-thirds of children died before 5 years of age, and that statistic has dramatically changed. Wet nurses (women hired to suckle others' children) were widely used when breast feeding was impossible. Otherwise, supplementary foods were of poor quality and unclean; as a result, food was the most frequent cause of serious illness. A first major step was heat treatment of milk; pasturization was first, followed by the development of sweetened condensed milk, which provided a much safer source of milk for infants than the raw or certified milk available previously. Early efforts to prepare foods specifically for infants and young children included meat juices and cereal gruels (Mellon's Food), malted milk (Horlick's Malted Milk), and sweetened condensed milk (Borden). The milk-based foods combined with hydrolyzed complex carbohydrates (dextrins and maltodextrins) evolved to what is now considered infant formula, and foods derived from other sources have been termed baby foods and infant cereal.

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