Infant milk formula was used as a model food to compare the sensitivity of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and hydroperoxide methods to UPLC-MS/MS oxylipin analysis for detecting early lipid oxidation. Two different infant milk formulas were tested during 21 days of storage at 4°C. Formulas 1 and 2 contained canola oil and canola oil + 1% docosahexaenoic acid ethyl ester, respectively. Formulas were sampled up to 21 days of storage. Formula 2 had higher peroxide values than Formula 1 across all time points. However, no significant differences over time in TBARS and peroxide values in either formula were observed. Several oxylipins increased in both formulas starting on day 7 (linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid-derived oxylipins in Formula 1 and DHA-derived oxylipins in Formula 2). These results indicate that free oxylipins are effective in detecting early lipid oxidation and distinguishing between formulations containing different fatty acids. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: We have recently shown that primary oxidation products known as oxylipins can be measured in their free form by ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) to detect early lipid oxidation. However, a head-to-head comparison of the sensitivity of this approach to conventional spectrophotometric methods has not been evaluated. Our results indicate that free oxylipin measurements are better than conventional methods in detecting early lipid oxidation in milk infant formula distinguishing between different formulations.