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Scientific Opinion on the suitability of goat milk protein as a source of protein in infant formulae and in follow-on formulae

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On request from the European Commission following an application by Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ) Ltd, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to provide a scientific opinion on the suitability of goat milk protein as a source of protein in infant and follow-on formulae. The Panel considered compositional data of an infant and a follow-on formula made from whole goat milk that retained the natural whey-to-casein ratio of goat milk, data from a double-blind, randomised, controlled, three-centre trial, and a re-analysis of the data of the trial which formed the basis of a previous evaluation of the Panel. A study in 200 Australian infants, randomised to receive an infant formula with unmodified goat milk protein or a cow milk formula exclusively for at least four months and thereafter in addition to complementary food until 12 months did not show statistically significant or clinically relevant differences in weight, length or head circumference development. The growth pattern of formula-fed infants differed, as expected, from that of the WHO growth standard in particular with respect to weight-for-length. The results of this study were supported by the results of the trial considered in the Panel’s earlier assessment, in which, however, the sample size was insufficient to draw conclusions. The Panel concludes that protein from goat milk can be suitable as a protein source for infant and follow-on formulae, provided the final product complies with the compositional criteria laid down in Directive 2006/141/EC.