Maternal diet can influence a babies taste for certain foods, recent researchpublished in the New Scientist, suggests. A team of scientists at the EuropeanCentre for Taste Science in Dijon, Francetested the response of 24 new-born babies. Half of the babies' mothers hadeaten anise - the main flavour of aniseed - during their pregnancy, and theother half had not. The infants were exposed to anise odour immediately afterbirth and again four days afterwards, to see if they showed an attraction oraversion to the smell. In both cases, infants born to anise-consuming mothersturned towards the smell, but those whose mothers did not eat anise eitherignored it or turned away. Lead researcher Dr Benoist Schaal said theresearch provided the first firm scientific evidence that maternal diet caninfluence the food preferences of babies. Dr Schaal said the finding suggesteda variety of chemical information may be passed from the mother to thedeveloping child.