I. Fruits and VegetablesMajor Finding: Gerber and Heinz dilute many second- and third-stage fruits and vegetables with water and starchy fillers and sweeten them with sugars. That practice greatly reduces the nutrient density of those foods compared to the pure fruit or vegetable product.
Beech-Nut, Earth's Best, and Growing Healthy do not add sugar or starchy fillers to any single or mixed fruit or vegetable baby food. Gerber and Heinz also make a variety of plain second- and third-stage products, and those products have about the same nutritional value as other brands. However, Gerber and Heinz add sugars and/or starchy fillers to over half of their second- and third-stage fruits and several second-stage vegetables. Gerber adds sugar to 55% (12 of 22) and chemically modified tapioca starch to 50% (11 of 22) of its second- and third-stage fruits (products are labeled "with tapioca"). Heinz adds corn syrup or sugar to 57% (12 of 21) and chemically modified starch (corn and/or tapioca) to 48% (10/21) of its second- and third-stage fruits. Gerber and Heinz also add flour to mixed and creamed vegetables.
The addition of water, sugars, and starchy fillers greatly dilutes the nutrient content of the foods, compared with the first-stage version of the same brand, with comparable second- or third-stage products that do not contain added fillers, or with equivalent weights of fresh produce. The examples below illustrate the degree to which adulteration with water, starches, and sugars dilute the nutrient density of second-stage fruits and vegetables.
much much more on this...