Evaluation of the suitability and acceptability of a newly designed infant flour for infant feeding in the district of Bopa in south of Benin
AbstractInfant feeding practices do not always fit with quantity and quality requirements, leading to low expression of growth potential. In Benin, 43.1% of children less than6 months old are exclusively breastfed with 68% of children aged 6-8 months receiving complementary food. The study aimed to produce infant flour from raw food ingredients available in Bopa district and to test its acceptability by 6-12 months oldchildren. In a first step of the study, formulation and determination of nutritional characteristics of the infant flour occurred. A second step concerned acceptability tests of gruel made from formulated infant flour. The study sample was composed of sixty five mothers and their children. Children�s acceptability test took place in the morning for three consecutive days. The gruel was consumed ad libitum. Mothers�acceptability test consisted of appreciation of organoleptic characteristics of the gruel and the infant flour processing.The infant flour was made of maize (65 %), bean (20 %) and peanut (15 %) and was manually processed. Chemical analysesshowed that it contains 4.3% of moisture, 69.3% of carbohydrates, 15.1% of proteins, 10.7% of lipids, less than 5% of crude fibres and 1.9% of ash. Its energy density (433.9kcal/100g) was significantly greater than Codex Alimentarius standards (p<0.05).The infant flour contained microbial germs up to 4.8log CFU/g which was closed to maximum standard values. Total coliforms (1.7log CFU/g) were significantly lower than standard values. The flour was yeast, mould and pathogen (Escherichia coli) free. Hundred grams gruel was made from 40g of infant flour, 6g of malted maize and 250ml of stock of boiled greens leaves (Solanummacrocarpum). Dry matter content of gruel was 19.2% and its energy density was 81.5 kcal/100g. Basedon the ratio of intake and amount served, 83.3% of children accepted the gruel. However based on the ratio of the amount of porridge consumed during the testto the amount usually consumed by the children, 65.2% of the childrenaccepted the gruel. Mothers�appreciation of the gruel ranged from unpleasant to very pleasant with 40% as pleasant. Sixty percent of mothers judged the infant flour processing as easy and feasible. All mothers expressed their desire to feed their children with the gruel. Improving nutritional status of their children motivated their decision. It is concluded that integrating this infant flour in nutrition and counselling package targeted to mothers may be of a great benefit to the children.
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