Modified food starches (MFS) are food additives used to impart functional properties to food products. Modified food starches are used primarily in strained and junior foods and to a minor extent in infant formulas, such as soybean (Isomil). Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics subcommittee, under contract to the Food and Drug Administration, held a conference on the use and safety of MFSs in infant nutrition. (The subcommittee on evaluation of safety of modified starches in infant foods, committee on nutrition, American Academy of Pediatrics.1) This comment is based in part on the subcommittee's recommendations.
Interest in the MFS arises from three principal concerns. The first relates to the bioavailability of the starch itself. The second is the potential that undigestible starch may have for producing diarrheal symptoms, malabsorption, and changes in gastrointestinal (GI) flora. The third is the toxicological effect of the chemicals used to modify the starch