Pectin is a fermentable soluble fiber that can be used as a thickener in formulas for infants and young children. The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives concluded that pectin is not of concern for inclusion in infant formula at up to 0.2%. As part of the safety assessment of the suitability of pectin for young infants (≤12 weeks of age), we conducted a 3-week dietary study in a neonatal pig model to 1) investigate the impact of pectin at different doses on neonatal pigs’ growth and 2) explore the potential explanation for the dose response. Male and female neonatal pigs were fed milk replacer containing 0, 0.2%, or 1% pectin beginning on postnatal day 2 for 21 days. Body weight, feed intake, and apparent ileal digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, and energy were reduced in pigs fed diets containing 1% pectin (P < 0.01) but not in pigs fed with 0.2% pectin. These data indicate that inclusion of pectin in the diet at 0.2%, equivalent to 704 mg/kg BW/day is safe, well tolerated, and did not result in any adverse health effects in this neonatal pig study.
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