Children under school age

Recommendations and limits for intake of vitamin A
Breast milk or infant formula satisfies the need for vitamin A for infants under the age of 6 months. The recommended intake of vitamin A is 300 μg RE for children between the ages of 6 and 23 months, 350 μg RE for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years and 400 μg RE for children between the ages of 6 and 9 years.

The long-term intake of vitamin A in retinoid form should not exceed 800 μg RE per day for children between the ages of 1 and 3 years or 1100 μg RE for children between the ages of 4 and 6 years.

Consumption of liver and liver-based foods
Liver is a versatile foodstuff rich in folate, vitamin A, and iron. However, due to risks involved in the consumption of liver by children under school age, the consumption of liver-based foods should be restricted. Liver is high in vitamin A in so-called retinoid form, which in large quantities may cause health problems. The symptoms of excessive intake of vitamin A can be general symptoms, such as headache and fatigue, or symptoms of the digestive tract, skin, the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. Toxicity cases caused by food are rare, however.

Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira and the National Nutrition Council have issued the following recommendation regarding the consumption of liver and liver-based food by children under school age: 1

Infants (under the age of 1 year)

  • Liver and all liver-based foods should be avoided in the diet

Children under school age

  • A total of at most 70 g of liver sausage and liver pate per week (ca. 4-5 slices per week)
  • At most 300 g of liver casserole per month (3/4 of a ready meal portion size)
    in which case
  • Liver stew and liver steaks should be avoided

1 This recommendation is based on the risk assessment report of Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira: "Vitamin A intake of Finnish children of 1, 3 and 6 years of age via liver foods — a quantitative risk assessment". (pdf), (Evira's research project 7/2008)