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Happy Birthday FSNT
Happy Birthday!
First Steps Nutrition Trust is 3 years old
We started our work in August 2011 and became a charity in early 2012, and are pleased that during this time we have established ourselves as an expert and independent source of information and resources on nutrition from pre-conception to five years.

We have a number of new resources and projects in the pipeline and we will report on our plans for the next year in our September newsletter. We are always keen to hear about information and support we could usefully provide, so do get in touch if you have any bright ideas.

The First Steps Nutrition Trust office will be closed between 16th-29th August, but please do send any enquiries by email and we will answer these as soon as we return. Orders for hard copies of resources can still be made during this time from our publications page.

Happy Holidays to everyone taking a well-deserved break this month.


Eating well recipe book:
Simple, cost-effective recipes for the whole family

Eating well: vegan infants and under-5s

This recipe book has been put together using the recipes created for the 'Making the most of Healthy Start' resource.

We thought the recipes might be usefully used in other settings to support families eating well as they are all tested, simple to prepare and cost effective and support the whole family to eat well together.


Eating Well; simple, cost-effective recipes for the whole family

Infant Milk News

European Food Safety Agency

EFSA publishes report on Essential Infant Formula Composition

EFSA has recommended intake levels of energy, macronutrients and micronutrients in infant and follow-on formulae. The recommendations are included in a Scientific Opinion on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae, which reviews advice provided by the Scientific Committee on Food in 2003 taking into account more recent evidence. It follows an EFSA Opinion published in 2013 on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union.

The advice from EFSA's Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies rests on the principle that formulae must be safe and suitable to meet the nutritional requirements and promote the growth and development of infants.

The Panel recommends minimum and maximum levels of energy for infants (up to one year old) of 60 kcal per 100 ml of formula and 70 kcal per 100 ml respectively.

The proposed amounts for fat and carbohydrate do not differ significantly from those in the current regulations. However, the Panel proposes that the maximum for protein be reduced from 3 g/100 kcal in infant formula and 3.5 g/100 kcal in follow-on formula to 2.5 g/100 kcal in formulae (infant and follow-on) based on milk protein, and to 2.8 g/100 kcal in formulae (infant and follow-on) containing isolated soy protein or hydrolysed protein. This was because the experts considered there to be no evidence of a physiological need for such high protein intakes and because current protein intakes are well above requirements.

For micronutrients the Panel proposes minimum levels. It emphasises that these cover the nutritional needs of virtually all healthy infants born at term and from a nutritional point of view there is no need to exceed these amounts in formulae.

Other key findings from the Opinion:

  • Cow's milk, goat's milk and isolated soy protein are safe and suitable protein sources for use in infant and follow-on formulae based on intact protein. The safety and suitability of other protein sources or new manufacturing technologies should be clinically evaluated prior to their use.
  • There is no need to add: arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, non-digestible oligosaccharides, "probiotics" or "synbiotics", chromium, fluoride, taurine and nucleotides to infant and follow-on formulae.

    You can read the full report here:


We will be updating our report Infant Milks in the UK to reflect this new advice later in the year but many of the findings in this report reflect opinions already in this resource. We are however pleased to have clarity about many of the additional ingredients for which claims are still being made on company websites.

SMA logo SMA for example is currently highlighting how its 90 years of experience in making infant formula has introduced many of these ingredients, still making claims about efficacy for many of them. Read more about it here.
SMA logo Aptamil makes a series of claims for prebiotics and arachidonic acid in its first infant milk on its health professional website in an article by dietitian Luise Marino and still makes claims for a range of health benefits of prebiotics in first infant formula despite EFSA disallowing this as a claim:

Infant milk analysis

Kingston University

In July we purchased all the infant milks currently available over the counter in the UK for infants and toddlers and asked researchers at Kingston University to make them up as directed and analyse them for a range of metal elements and heavy metals.

This follows work in other European countries which has shown some high levels of some metals in infant formula, and we also thought it would be interesting to consider current composition in light of the new EFSA minimum composition figures.

In addition the Codex Alimentarius committee set out new maximum levels for lead in infant formula in July 2014 recommending that no more than 0.01mg/kg should be consumed by infants from infant formula, so we thought it might be timely to look at current contents.

This work has also generated accurate scoop weights for all the milks currently available and we now can cost milks more accurately and will summarise this data in our next infant milk report.

We are looking forward to crunching all the numbers in the next month and reporting on our findings.

We would like to thank Professor Liz Opara, Dr Magali Chohan and Daniela Liberova at Kingston University for doing this work and we hope to be able to publish our findings in due course.

'I just want to find the right formula for my baby'
I just want to find the right formula for my baby

Over the past 3 months Jessica Mitchell has been reviewing conversations between parents on parental talk boards to find out more about current issues and concerns relating to formula milk.

Parental conversations were previously considered in a report done by Jessica five years ago for The Caroline Walker Trust called 'I hear it's the closest to breast milk'

This report is currently being edited, and preliminary findings suggest that there appears to be much greater concern now than 5 years ago about infants with potential 'special needs' relating to reflux or allergy and we will be considering this when we plan new resources later this year.

Other news


For information on the campaign to stop Danone targeting health workers and the public in the UK and the rest of the world in violation of international baby milk marketing standards, check out the DanoNo campaign at Baby Milk Action.


CEDAR and MRC Epidemiology Unit researchers have been working with mothers and healthcare professionals to develop a feeding programme which aims to avoid excess weight gain in formula-milk fed babies. Research with parents in the Cambridge Baby Growth Study and other studies shows that parents who give their babies formula-milk as part of their everyday diet need more information and support.

The infant feeding programme is being tested in a randomised controlled trial. One group will be given advice and support to follow the new guidelines for formula-milk feeding. The other group will be given routine advice about formula-milk feeding and weaning. The babies in the two groups will be followed up over the next twelve months. The Baby Milk Study is currently recruiting.

If your baby is less than three months and is receiving formula-milk feeds (exclusively or partially) and you are interested in joining the study, or would simply like any more information, the researchers would like to hear from you.

Call 0800 756 0878
or Email


First Steps Nutrition Trust offers information and resources to support good nutrition from pre-conception to 5 years.
Our aim is to produce clear and independent resources to support people who want to know more about eating well before and during pregnancy, eating well for infants and young children, and food composition and food quality.

First Steps Nutrition Trust takes no industry funding. We are funded through charitable trusts and donations. We aim to provide a one-stop shop for useful and accurate evidence-based information on good nutrition from pre-conception to five years.
First Steps mother and baby
First Step Nutrition Trust's newsletter will be published regularly to promote information and awareness of the importance of good nutrition from pre-conception to 5 years and to highlight the work of the Trust.
Registered Charity No: 114640