Dr. Mariana Souza, Ph.D. is one of the leading scientists in infant nutrition and is working on the front lines to create Harmony’s infant formulas. With a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology and over a decade of experience working in baby nutrition development from routine formulas to complex specialty formulas for babies with genetic diseases and regulatory compliance, Mariana has a deep understanding of all the ingredients in infant formula and is essential to create a formula that is both extremely healthy for infants and set up for regulatory approval. We sat down with Dr. Mariana to learn more about her work taking Harmony’s human breast milk components and turning them into a complete infant formula.
1. What do we do at the formula production plant?
In the production of formulas, the team responsible for the production must properly separate and weigh all the ingredients and then proceed to the stages of mixing, homogenization and drying of the final product. After production, the formulas go on to the packaging and labeling processes.
Besides that, the quality control team must monitor the entire process in order to ensure that the procedures are in accordance with the specifications, in addition to performing quality analyses of the final product.
2. We focus a lot on the human breast milk proteins that we include in our formula, but a lot more must go into an infant formula to make it viable as the sole source of nutrition for a growing baby. Can you tell us more about the importance of these other components?
Yes, we focus a lot on proteins, because they are one of the main nutrients for the proper growth of babies, and because they are also the main cause of adverse reactions such as allergies. However, in addition to proteins, formulas must contain carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and components such as nucleotides, essential fatty acids (ARA and DHA), in addition to human milk oligosaccharides, known as HMOs, that work as prebiotics.
Carbohydrates work as an essential source of energy for babies. Fats, on the other hand, must be present in an adequate balance of fatty acids, similar to that observed in breast milk, and are the main energy-providing nutrient. Essential fatty acids, such as ARA and DHA are important for cognitive, brain, and eye development.
3. What makes Harmony’s formula a game changer in the baby nutrition industry?
Our formula is such a game changer because we will no longer need to depend on cow’s milk to feed babies. Now we have a better option. Our formula entirely replaces the nutrients that we used to depend on cow’s milk for in favor of the breast milk components, such as breast milk proteins and HMOs. We know that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for an infant and our formula has an incredibly high resemblance to this source of nutrition and provides many of the same benefits. Formulas derived from cow’s milk (or any other source of nutrition for that matter) cannot approach this resemblance to breast milk, because they simply do not contain the matching components.