Gerber gets green light from FDA to tout health claim

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A milk formula for babies made by Gerber Products can reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis, and Gerber has the Food and Drug Administration’s permission to say so.

Gerber said Thursday that its Good Start milk-based formulas were the first and only infant formulas to meet the FDA’s criteria for a qualified health claim. The partially hydrolyzed formula may reduce a baby’s risk of developing atopic dermatitis in the first year.

“For healthy infants who are not exclusively breast-fed and who have a family history of allergy, feeding a 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formula from birth up to 4 months instead of a formula containing intact cow’s milk proteins may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis throughout the first year of life,” the FDA’s official language read. “[The] FDA has concluded that the relationship between 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formulas and the reduced risk of atopic dermatitis is uncertain, because there is little scientific evidence for the relationship.”

Such groups as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology have said certain hydrolyzed protein infant formulas can reduce the risk of the condition, particularly in infants with a family history of allergy.