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Public consultation on the draft scientific opinion on the appropriate age for the introduction of complementary feeding into an infant’s diet

EFSA has launched an open consultation on its draft scientific opinion on the appropriate age for the introduction of complementary feeding into an infant’s diet.

The purpose of this opinion is to assess the scientific evidence in relation to whether there are any developmental determinants for the introduction of complementary foods, and whether there are any adverse effects or benefits associated with the introduction of complementary foods before 6 months of age. This draft scientific opinion should not be interpreted as providing public health recommendations for the introduction of complementary foods or as an evaluation of the optimal duration of exclusive breast-feeding.

As supporting documents to the draft scientific opinion, Annex A contains the data extracted from the included prospective and retrospective studies, Annex B contains the result of the assessment of the risk of bias per question and outcome for randomised controlled trials and prospective observational studies, Annex C contains the list of papers excluded at full text screening of the systematic searches, Annex D contains the funnel plots for the assessment of publication bias, and Annex E contains the statistical results of sensitivity analyses on the use of different between-study variance estimators in the random effects meta-analyses.

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments by 29 May 2019. Please use the electronic template provided to submit comments and refer to the line and page numbers. In case you encounter technical issues while filling-in the public consultation form, please make sure you first clean the browser's history or switch browser. To submit additional data to support your comments or files, there is an upload function available in the tool (maximum file size 1 MB). You can also contact the Nutrition Unit’s functional mailbox nda_admin [at] (nda_admin[at]efsa[dot]europa[dot]eu).

  • are submitted after the closing date of the public consultation;
  • are not related to the contents of the document;
  • contain complaints against institutions, personal accusations, irrelevant or offensive statements or material;
  • are related to policy or risk management aspects, which are out of the scope of EFSA's activity.

EFSA will assess all comments from interested parties which are submitted in line with the criteria above. The comments will be further considered by the relevant EFSA Panel and taken into consideration if found to be relevant.

Copyright-cleared contributions

Persons or entities participating in the EFSA Public Consultation are responsible for ensuring that they hold all the rights necessary for their submissions and consequent publication by EFSA. Comments should inter alia be copyright cleared taking into account EFSA’s transparency policy and practise to publish all submissions. In case your submission reproduces third party content in the form of charts, graphs or images, please ensure that the required prior permissions of the right holder have been obtained.

Publication of contributions

All comments submitted will be published. Comments submitted by individuals in a personal capacity will be presented anonymously. Comments submitted formally on behalf of an organisation will appear with the name of the organisation.


Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) revised its Opinion of 2009 on the appropriate age for introduction of complementary feeding of infants. This request arises in the context of the information to be provided regarding the use of processed cereal-based and baby food in the future delegated act on these foods foreseen in Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 on food intended for infants and young children.

In this draft scientific opinion, complementary feeding was defined as the period when complementary foods are given together with either human milk or formula. Complementary food in this opinion comprises all liquid, semisolid and solid foods other than breast milk and formula, water and vitamins which are given to infants, and can be beverages, spoon-fed food or finger-food.

The draft scientific opinion covers 14 outcomes e.g. weight, body mass index, risk of coeliac disease or of atopic diseases or food preferences and eating habits and it was drafted following the methodology of a systematic review.

Deadline: 29 May 2019