At Little Étoile, we are not only committed to sourcing high quality organic ingredients from approved suppliers but we also meticulously test across a range of allergens, toxins and nutrition to ensure safe and trustworthy products for your little stars. We employ strict quality management, whereby ingredient and product quality and safety are controlled and tested throughout the entire process from farm to pouch.
We are allergen friendly
Why allergens are a concern
For those who are affected by allergies, it’s a scary and sometimes life-threatening health condition.
- In Australia, 1 in 10 infants suffer from a food allergy¹
- For infants and toddlers, hospital admission for anaphylaxis from food allergies has increased 5-fold over the last decade¹
In Australia and New Zealand, Allergen Free claims are not regulated (apart from gluten free) and comprehensive allergen testing on baby food products is surprisingly uncommon.
- In a 2018 survey of Australian allergy sufferers, 6.7% with known allergies had reported an anaphylactic reaction to packaged foods for which the allergen was not listed as an ingredient. Of those reactions, 54% were reportedly from foods that didn’t contain a voluntary warning statement for the suspected trigger food. ²
We test every batch!
We consider risk prevention and clear food labelling a mandatory aspect of our role in food safety. We follow a strict allergen management program in place that complies to The Allergen Bureau’s VITAL ® program (Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling).³ Additionally, as a healthcare company with values rooted in safety and quality, we made the decision to go one step further and have every batch tested for the most common allergens* to be able to give peace of mind for families around Australia.
Allergens we test for:
Egg, gluten, milk (except in custard), peanut, soy, macadamia, crustacea, almond, hazelnut, sesame, walnut, fish, pistachio, cashew, and lupin. – *Based on list by the Australian & NZ Food Authority – FSANZ. ⁴
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) (2019). Food Allergy. Available at https://www.allergy.org.au/images/pcc/ASCIA_PCC_Food_Allergy_2019.pdf
- Giovanni A. Zurzolo et al. Self-reported anaphylaxis to packaged foods in Australia, The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jaip.2018.09.006
- Allergen Bureau. The VITAL program. Available at http://allergenbureau.net/vital/
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand (2019). Food allergies and food intolerances. Available at https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/foodallergies/allergies/Pages/default.aspx
We are more than just organic – our products are tested for heavy metal impurities
Why heavy metals are a concern
A recent US study testing 168 different brands of baby foods, found toxic heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium) in 95% of the products analysed. ¹
Unfortunately, choosing organic or making your own baby food won’t reduce risk of exposure. Heavy metals occur naturally as trace elements in the environment and certain fruits and vegetables absorb more than others, either through soil or water. Some studies have reported contamination of up to 6 times the recommended limit when testing organic baby products. ² While these findings have been mirrored in other research across the US and UK, alarmingly, in Australia it is not something that is routinely investigated or reported on.
“Infants are especially sensitive to toxins. This is because their organs are still developing, and their bodies are less able to detoxify.” – World Health Organization ³
Trace metals accumulate in the body over time, especially in the brain, which is of particular concern for babies as their brains are still developing. Regular exposure to even small amounts of these heavy metals at an early age may increase risk of several health problems including IQ deficits later in childhood, behavioral and learning issues. ¹
We test every batch!
While developing our products, we were surprised to find that in Australia there is no regulation or official maximum levels of heavy metals in baby food (except for lead in infant formula)⁴ and currently, no one else in the baby food space declares testing. It seems that since the health consequences of these contaminants are gradual, it may not be a public health priority and therefore unfortunately not a priority for most baby food producers.
Since there is no safe level of heavy metals, we knew that we needed to take things into our own hands. We made the decision to voluntarily have each and every batch analysed for the four most dangerous heavy metals (Lead, Arsenic, Mercury and Cadmium) to ensure we are not exposing babies to these risks when consuming our products.
- Jane Houlihan, MSCE, and Charlotte Brody, RN, Healthy Babies Bright Future (2019). What’s in my baby’s food? A national investigation finds 95 percent of baby foods tested contain toxic chemicals that lower babies’ IQ, including arsenic and lead. Healthy Babies Bright Futures. Available at https://www.healthybabyfood.org/sites/healthybabyfoods.org/files/2019-10/BabyFoodReport_FULLREPORT_
Brian P. Jackson et al. (2012). Arsenic, Organic Foods, and Brown Rice Syrup, Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 120, issue 5, 2012, pages 623–626, ISSN 0091-6765, doi 10.1289/ehp.1104619 on.
- Gardener H, Bowen J, Callan SP. Lead and cadmium contamination in a large sample of United States infant formulas and baby foods. Sci Total Environ. 2019;651(Pt 1):822‐827. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.09.026
- Vella C, Attard E. Consumption of Minerals, Toxic Metals and
- Hydroxymethylfurfural: Analysis of Infant Foods and Formulae. Toxics. 2019;7(2):33. Published 2019 Jun 8. doi:10.3390/toxics7020033
- World Health Organisation (2018). Childrens Health and the Environment. Available at https://www.who.int/ceh/capacity/Children_are_not_little_adults.pdf
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 2.9.2- Food for Infants. Canberra: FSANZ; 2012.
We are accurate and honest about nutrition
Nutrition claims are often used on food labels, The Food Authority allows two types of nutrition claims ”source of ” or “good source of” and these claims can only be made if a product meets certain nutrient criteria. ¹ Claims such as “with calcium” are used to bypass meeting the requirements and mean that there is actually very little of that nutrient in the serving.
It is our mission to empower parents to make informed purchasing decisions which is why you will only find honest and accurate claims on our products.
Nutrition Information Panels
It is a requirement for all food products to include a Nutrition Information Panel outlining key nutrition content, however, many food companies will use theoretical values from databases to inform their values which are unfortunately not always correct. Although this is permitted, it isn’t best practice and therefore not good enough for us, which is why all our products are tested in an accredited laboratory to accurately assess the nutrition content.
The nutrition values on our products are not just tested at time the product is released to the market or freshly made, but also tested regularly during the product shelf life as part of our comprehensive stability testing program. With Little Étoile Organic, you can feel confident in what nutrition your baby is truly receiving.
- Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Available at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017C00333. Schedule 19.