Safety & Research
Product Safety and Quality
Nestlé and Gerber are fully committed to product safety and quality. We back this commitment with strict ingredient specifications, multiple sample tests, and strict safety programs to ensure that our products comply with regulatory requirements and are unquestionably safe for babies.
Only the highest-quality infant formula ingredients
All of the ingredients in GERBER infant formula are of the highest quality. As part of our Ingredient Qualification Program, we work with only a select group of suppliers who meet Nestlé’s rigorous standards:
- Good Manufacturing Practices audits
- Ingredient sample testing from each supplier’s site that screens for Nestlé specifications and optimum natural nutrient levels
- Ongoing plant trials to confirm ingredient performance in finished products
Plus, the Nestlé Quality Assurance Program tests for 29 essential nutrients in every batch of Nestlé infant formula. We ensure that nutrient levels are correct, appropriate, and meet all regulatory standards before our products reach the shelf.
Our strict standards
We work hard to make sure we meet all the latest safety, quality, and regulatory standards for our products, ingredients, and packaging. To ensure that we meet our consumers’ expectations for quality and safety every time, we often set our internal standards even higher than those of the government.
Partnership with our key suppliers is important to assure safety and quality. We work closely with ingredient and packaging suppliers to communicate Nestlé’s high expectations—and to ensure that our suppliers conform to our strict quality and food safety guidelines. We also specifically outline transportation and delivery procedures to confirm the safety and quality of ingredients prior to use in our products.
When ingredients arrive at our manufacturing locations, they are carefully inspected to assure us that they meet our requirements. Once they are accepted into our facilities, we can trace their use through each step of the manufacturing process.
Gerber Agricultural Program
Food quality and safety standards for our fresh produce begin long before the manufacturing plant. They start in the fields and orchards across the United States, when the first seeds are planted in the soil. Gerber growers are full partners in producing the most trusted brand of baby foods in America. Our fresh produce products are purchased from U.S. growers, and Good Agricultural Practices audits are conducted on all of our suppliers.
Even before the seeds are planted, Gerber vegetable growers optimize the soil through crop rotation, making sure the ground is ready to grow nutrient-rich produce. To manage the quality and safety of our fresh produce, we track the specific fields where our produce is grown. And we know who grew it. In fact we’ve probably known them for a long time because Gerber has long-term relationships with the majority of our fresh produce farmers. Sometimes we’ve known them for generations.
At the beginning of each season, we meet with our growers and give them an annual crop report card. Our growers must provide spray history records and adhere to our pesticide restriction protocols. This process helps us know as much as possible about the produce that’s coming from our growers’ fields and orchards.
Healthy foods begin with healthy ingredients
Healthy product design begins with healthy ingredients, and limits or avoids ingredients that add calories but little nutrition. Nestlé uses both government and internal standards to help shape product design, and we assess our products annually to identify opportunities for further innovation and renovation. Our strict criteria guide all product development and are based on the research and recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine.
We also evaluate every food to ensure developmental appropriateness—making sure it’s the right size, shape, and texture for each developmental stage. The world’s leading safety experts at Intertek test all of our baby foods in accordance with advanced safety protocols.
Start Healthy, Stay Healthy is backed by Nestlé’s rigorous nutrition research. We believe that science can help us make better products for babies to get them off to a good start.
With 24 research technology centers worldwide, Nestlé has the largest research and development network of any company. The Nestlé Research Center, based near Lausanne, Switzerland, is the world’s largest private facility for nutrition-related research. Fremont, Michigan, is home to one of Nestlé’s Product Technology Centers and is the global center of excellence for all Nestlé baby food, meals, and drinks.
Nestlé’s Worldwide Research & Development network provides three fundamental areas of benefits for parents: safety and quality; nutrition and health; and taste, texture, and convenience. Our research focuses on five key areas relating to nutrition and health needs:
- Energy and weight management
- Growth and development
- Physical and mental performance
- Digestive comfort
How Research Benefits Your Children
Nestlé and Gerber have helped achieve many nutrition breakthroughs. In 2007, Nestlé introduced the first infant formula in the United States with probiotics—beneficial B. Lactis cultures like those found in breastmilk—designed to support a baby’s healthy immune system. We also reformulated GERBER® GRADUATES® products for toddlers by removing trans fats, reducing the sodium content, and using healthier fat sources.
Doctors and Taste Testers
For many years we’ve worked closely with pediatricians, pediatric psychologists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists to develop comprehensive knowledge of what’s developmentally appropriate for young children to eat.
In 2003, along with our scientific and medical team, we established the Gerber Feeding Development Model. This ensures that we provide a wide array of baby foods that are the right sizes, textures, and shapes to encourage the development of proper feeding skills in young children at each developmental stage. As we learn new facts, we continue to modify and revise this model.
We want to know how well babies like our foods, so we use a panel of 4,000 babies to taste test our products. Because no matter how healthy a baby food is, it won’t be eaten unless it tastes good. Carefully watching our little taste-testers also helps us to understand how we can improve our products to be appropriate for young children’s stages of development.
Research is a key part of our heritage and an essential element for our future. We know there’s still much to discover about the role of food in our lives, and we continue to search for answers that deliver Nestlé’s promise of Good Food, Good Life™.