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Pablum is a processed cereal for infants originally marketed by the Mead Johnson Company in 1931. The trademarked name is a contracted form of the Latin word pabulum, meaning "foodstuff".


Pablum was developed by Canadian paediatricians Frederick Tisdall, Theodore Drake, and Alan Brown,[1] in collaboration with nutrition laboratory technician Ruth Herbert (all of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto), along with Mead Johnson chemist Harry H. Engel.[2] The cereal marked a breakthrough in nutritional science: it helped prevent rickets, a crippling childhood disease, by ensuring that children had sufficient vitamin D in their diet.

Although neither Pablum nor its biscuit predecssor [3] was not the first food designed and sold specifically for babies, it was the first baby food to come pre-cooked and thoroughly dried. The ease of preparation made Pablum successful in an era when infant malnutrition was still a major problem in industrialized countries.[citation needed]

Pablum Mixed Cereal was made from a mixture of ground and pre-cooked wheat (farina), oatmeal, yellow corn meal, bone meal, dried brewer's yeast and powdered alfalfa leaf, fortified with reduced iron — providing an assortment of minerals, and vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E.[4][5] Pablum is palatable and easily digested without causing side effects like diarrhea or constipation. It is also unlikely to cause allergic reactions,[citation needed] as it does not contain eggs, lactose or nuts of any kind (although it may contain wheat and corn, both of which can be allergenic for some individuals).

For a period of 25 years, the Hospital for Sick Children and the Toronto Pediatric Foundation received a royalty on every package of Pablum sold. In 2005, the Pablum brand was acquired by the H. J. Heinz Company.

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