Protocol for a systematic review on health outcomes related to the age of introduction of complementary food for the scientific assessment of the appropriate age of introduction of complementary feeding into an infant's diet
In 2016, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) received a mandate from the European Commission to update its 2009 opinion on the appropriate age for introduction of complementary feeding of infants. In order to retrieve data on health outcomes related to the age of introduction of complementary food, a systematic literature review will be conducted in line with the EFSA guidance on the application of systematic review methodology to food and feed safety assessments to support decision making. These data will be considered together with data on the nutritional adequacy of exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding at different ages and with data on neuromuscular, gastrointestinal and renal development which may affect the capacity of the infant to introduce non-milk foods in the diet as the basis for the scientific assessment. This protocol serves as a basis for conducting the systematic literature search aiming to retrieve data on health outcomes related to the age of introduction of complementary food. As EFSA wished to seek advice from stakeholders on the draft protocol for the systematic literature review, the NDA Panel endorsed the draft protocol for public consultation on 1 February 2017. The consultation was open from 16 February to 23 March 2017 (5 weeks).