Medical Foods

  • Mary K. Schmidl
  • Theodore P. Labuza


Medical foods, also known as enteral formulas, used to feed hospitalized patients or to be a major dietary factor for those with unusual diseases, have been an important achievement in science and medicine during the past 40 years. These truly are critical “functional foods” for special dietary purposes. There are over 180 of these special products in the market produced by about 20 manufacturers (Talbot 1990; Hatten and Mackey 1990). The products that are fed by nasogastric feeding devices in sterile solution form are generally considered foods (enteral foods) to differentiate them from sterile parenteral nutrition solutions fed by vein, which are considered as drugs and which need to be pre cleared through the Food and Drug Administration. It has been estimated by the Federated Societies for Experimental Biology (Anon. 1992) that there are over 5 million patients on enteral medical foods in the United States. These foods comprise essentially sterile solutions or rehydratable powders with a value exceeding $1 billion.


Medical Food Enteral Nutrition Functional Food Health Attribute Maple Syrup Urine Disease 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary K. Schmidl
  • Theodore P. Labuza

There are no affiliations available

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