Baby Book Updates

Formula Watch: Palm Olein Oil

Published on Thursday, 28 February 2013 19:25


One of the ingredients we highlight in our Foodfacts Baby Nutrition, Allergen and Score guide is Palm Olein Oil in Infant Formulas.

What is it?

Palm Olein Oil is the light oil fraction from the pressing of the palm fruit, and is approximately 40% saturated and 60% unsaturated fat. Palm Olein is liquid, contains no trans fat and is widely used as a deep fat frying oil. 

It is used in several brands of Infant Formula to increase the fat content to match the fatty acid profile of human breastmilk.

Why is it controversial?

The inclusion of this additive in infant formula lowers calcium and fat absorption in infants, leading to lower bone mineral density and lower bone mineral content.

Low bone mineral density is related to increased risk of bone fractures.

How do you know?

In 2003, researchers from the Department of Pediatrics at Hutzel Hospital (Wayne State University, Michigan) performed a randomized, double-blind study of healthy infants, and concluded that “healthy term infants fed a formula containing PO (Palm and Palm Olein Oils) as the predominant oil in the fat blend had significantly lower BMC (Bone Mineral Content) and BMD (Bone Mineral Density) than those fed a formula without PO. The inclusion of PO in infant formula at levels needed to provide a fatty acid profile similar to that of human milk leads to lower bone mineralization.”


How can I avoid this?

Check your formula's ingredient label for "Palm Olein Oil" or "Palm Oil."  And as always, check with and the Foodfacts Baby Nutrition Allergen and Score Guide when choosing a formula for your child!


Disclaimer: does not provide medical advice; if you have a question about nutrition, diet or your health, please consult a medical professional.