ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new Rochester study has found that the labeling on baby formula packages can be misleading about lactose.

The study, conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), examined national purchasing data of more than 1.65 billion liters of powder formula, encompassing all major big box stores which sold the food between 2017 and 2019.

The findings show 59 percent of all formula was “lactose-reduced,” meaning the formulas included substitution carbohydrates such as corn syrup or table sugar. It also found more infants and young children are consuming a hypoallergenic formula than is medically necessary.

Dr. Bridget Young is an assistant professor in the Division of Breastfeeding and Lactation at URMC, and said that the only way to know if the formula is lactose-reduced is by inspecting the ingredients.

“Currently, the only way to know that your baby is consuming a lactose-reduced formula is to flip over the can and look at list of ingredients and find an alternative carbohydrate listed there, like corn syrup, corn syrup solids, brown rice syrup, and you have to know that that means there’s less lactose,” Dr. Young said. “That seems really like a lot of work to us. These kinds of really important things should be on the front of the can — easy for parents to decide, easy for pediatricians to know the difference — and that’s one of the things we’re hoping to change.”

Dr. Young emphasizes the contents inside formula are safe for babies. She added that the FDA regulations regarding baby formula have not been updated since the 1980s.