This paper compares the elemental content of meals that were categorized as vegetable, beef and chicken based for 4-6, 7+ and 10+ months sold on the market. In one category, the chicken based meals contain apple while the other is free from apple. A summary of the trace elements and minerals for which each meal category shows higher levels in contrast to the rest was determined. This follows a previous study by the researcher where ICP-AES and ICP-MS were used to
determine the levels of trace elements and minerals. The trace elements namely: cadmium (Cd), copper(Cu), iron(Fe),
lead(Pb), manganese(Mn), nickel(Ni), selenium(Se) and zinc(Zn) and minerals: calcium(Ca), magnesium(Mg), phosphorous(P), potassium(K) and sodium(Na) in a brand of baby food were analysed. The findings showed that levels of
the trace elements and minerals in the foods were below the Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI). In this paper, an analysis of the trace elements and minerals for which each meal category shows higher levels in contrast to the rest indicated that vegetable based foods (W1, X1 and Y1) were richer in Ca, Na and Zn compared to the other categories of
meals. Similarly, chicken based foods (W2, X2, Y2) had higher values in Cd, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, P and Se in relation to the rest.
The beef based meals (W4, X4, Y4) were higher in Cu, Fe and Pb. However, synergistic and antagonistic interactions were suggested whereby, chicken based meals with added apple (W3, X3, Y3) were lower in Cd, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, P and Se compared to those without added apple (W2, X2, Y2). On the other hand, the levels of Cu, Fe and Pb in the chicken meals containing apple were higher than in the meals without apple and surpassed levels in the beef meals. These findings
emphasize the role of synergistic and antagonistic interactions depending on the composition of the meals in determining the level of trace elements and minerals. It is recommended that manufacturers consider these interactions in declaring nutrient levels.
The same level of nutrients found in beef can be achieved using different food ingredients. Commercial baby food manufacturers should explore this to facilitate in developing foods for infants that may be reactive to beef based
foods. Further research is recommended to examine the interactions in the chicken meals with and without apple.
Key words: Baby foods, nutrients, trace elements, minerals, beef, vegetarian, chicken, commercial meals, ICP-AES, ICPMS