Nestle has announced today (26 May) that its Gerber Products division has been granted the first ever Food and Drink Administration (FDA) qualified health claim for its Gerber Good Start infant formula range.

The company said that the FDA concluded that current scientific evidence is appropriate for the consideration of a qualified health claim relating to a reduced risk of atopic dermatitis.

According to Nestle, atopic dermatitis is the most common type of allergic disease in infancy, and develops in nearly one in five babies.

The FDA said that for healthy infants who are not exclusively breastfed and who have a family history of allergy, "feeding a 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formula from birth up to 4 months of age instead of a formula containing intact cow's milk proteins may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis throughout the first year of life".

It said that partially hydrolyzed formulas should not be fed to infants who are allergic to milk or to infants with existing milk allergy symptoms.