Home | About Us | News | Order Publications | How to Support Us | FAQ | Contact Us | Events
Eating well in pregnancy
Infant feeding
Eating well from birth to five


Follow us

Welcome to the First Steps Nutrition Trust July newsletter

Welcome to our first newsletter of the post-brexit world – like many organisations we are reviewing the potential consequences of this on what we do – and where we might focus our efforts.

Do we have grounds for sunny optimism that we now have the opportunity to be a country that fully protects the health of women and children and follows all the recommendations made by global health bodies? Or should we be wary of a government that wants new trade deals, de-regulation and a light touch with industry? We are already this week looking at what might happen with the new EU regulation on Foods for Special Groups, the umbrella directive which covers infant milks and baby foods. The detail of regulation around composition, labelling and marketing appears in separate ‘delegated acts’. Whilst the directive is in force now – companies get 4 years to make changes in line with delegated acts – so where does this leave us when we leave the EU? Baby Milk Action have produced a press release trying to unknot some of this

Which Way Do We Go?

In reality there remain many unknowns. The government continues with its 1/3 job cuts and reorganisation at The Department of Health, so light touch may well be the watch word on most things.

Infant milk news

Infant milks in the UK: A practical guide for health professionals
Infant milks in the UK
This July we have updated our ‘Infant Milks in the UK’ report.

You can download a list of the sections that have changed in the report here if you want to update a hard copy.

A few key things to note:

  1. Similac - the number 1 US infant milk brand made by Abbott Nutrition has come into the UK market, but is currently only available at Boots. A first milk, follow-on milk and growing up milk are available, all ‘reassuringly’ expensive at £14 for 850g, making it the most Similac First Infant Milkexpensive formula on the market.

    The most important to thing to note, however, is that the scoop for this milk is twice the size of all other UK scoops, with 1 scoop added to 60ml water. It is therefore particularly important if families swap brands that scoops are not confused and always kept within the product and discarded when the product is finished.

    Similac First Milk is now the only powdered cows’ milk based first milk suitable for vegetarians, but has a whey:casein ratio of 48:52, compared to a 60:40 ratio in most first milks. We will update the formula milk report (that is the ‘yellow one’!) to summarise how this milk compares with other first infant milks in the next week.

    We have seen no adverts so far for this product, if you see any or get sent anything then do pass them on!

  2. We are based in Kendal….Aptamil is the most popular brand of infant milk – why don’t we make an infant formula in the UK and call it ‘Kendamil’ ...?


    Kendamil (the brand name for infant milks  and some cereal foods) is currently only available in the North West of England through Booths supermarkets, an online shop and directly from the factory.

    The marketing for the infant milk products focuses on it being made from British milk, supporting British farmers, and being made with ‘whole milk’. It is not clear how any infant formula can claim to ‘nurture the environment’ however – and we will be watching any marketing campaigns we see in the UK with interest. The advert below looks like an ‘idealising image’ to me  – but I have not as yet seen this advert anywhere but on the web. Please let me, or Baby Milk Action know if you come across it!


    There is a trend in infant milks globally towards ‘more natural’ cows’ milk fat as a beneficial fat source – however all milks must meet current recommendations on fat composition, so despite the ‘whole milk based’ advertising this milk also has sunflower, rapeseed, palm and coconut oils added as well as fish and single cell oils.

    Currently first milk, follow-on milk and toddler milk are available in the UK. We will profile the first milk in more detail when we update the ‘Infant formula – an overview’ report in the next week.

  3. Talking of using refined oils in infant formula….

    We have also included a section in the new report on the new – and worrying data – from EFSA on the presence of by-products from oil refinement in infant formula. You can find out more about glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE) and 2- and 3-monochloropropanediol (2-MCPD and 3-MCPD) and their fatty acid esters in the contaminants section of the report. We hope to produce a separate summary report looking at contaminants and safety aspects of infant milks later this year to renew calls to Government that they perform more regular and independent analyses of these products.


Specialised infant milks in the UK: Infants 0-6 months
Specialised infant milks in the UK: Infants 0-6 months

We have also updated the product information in our report on specialised infant milks for infants 0-6 months.

This report aims to provide an overview of products available, as well as some information on the claims made in the context of what else is known, or recommended, by independent scientific bodies.

The aim is not for the information in the report to replace specialised medical care from a clinical team, but to provide independent information that health professionals can use in their discussion. We hope it will encourage health workers who require information about specialised infant milk products to be active in obtaining the specific information they need from commercial companies, and not just passive recipients of marketing information.

We are aware that more work is needed in this area of infant milks and in supporting neonatal units, and are keen to hear from anyone with expertise – and an understanding of the need to work independently of the breastmilk substitute industry – who might want to support us in taking this work forward.

Infant Milks: A simple guide to infant formula, follow on formula and other infant milks
Infant milks - A simple guide

We have also updated these simple guides as of July 2016, and as with all our reports they can be downloaded from the ‘Infant Milks Overview’ section of our website.

We are still updating the three other infant milk resources and hope to have updated versions by the end of the month:

  • Infant milk composition,
  • Infant formula- an overview
  • Costs of infant milks marketed in the UK
We have left the February 2016 versions on the website in the interim.

Websites and organisations funded by the formula milk industry
Websites and Organisations Report

We have updated this short resource which lists those websites, campaigns, programmes and organisations that have links to breastmilk substitute companies. It is not always obvious who funds particular projects or websites, and it is also useful to know which health professionals work with industry, so the aim of this resource is to provide a source of information so you can check who it is appropriate to work with.

This is of course particularly important if you work or study in a UNICEF Baby Friendly accredited setting, but we also hope that others will support the rights of women and children through following WHO and WHA advice and resolutions and avoiding links with breastmilk substitute industries. The resource also contains a list of organisations you can get good advice from – no-one needs to go without good information!

Have you come across any other sites or projects we might have missed? Do get in touch:

Other news
Good food choices and portion sizes for 1-4 year olds
Good Food Choices and portion sizes for 1-4 year olds

If you missed this last month, this pictorial guide gives simple information on good food choices and suggested portion sizes for 1-4 year olds. The photos can be used to talk about different foods, and show families how to make up meals from unprocessed and minimally processed foods. We hope that in some areas health professionals may consider working with local families to translate the food names/text into other languages. If anyone is interested in doing this then we can potentially produce some other language versions so get in touch.

Click on the cover to access the report

We will have some hard copies of this resource available in August and will send out details in next month's news.

Aggressive promotion of growing up milks – A statement from IBFAN/ICDC
Growing up milks leaflet You can access this new statement here:

We have also produced an updated statement on the sugar content of fortified milks for older children. Access this statement here

The global community is currently meeting through CODEX to come up with standards for these products, and this week saw the latest round of consultation documents sent to the secretariat. I think it is safe to say there is no consensus as yet on what these products should be called, never mind their composition or labelling. There are however clear global concerns about childhood obesity and stronger calls from WHO for everyone to work together to ensure we follow international guidance. Whilst these arguments continue, children all over the world are being given expensive sugary milk drinks by parents persuaded by pernicious marketing.

We hope that any childhood obesity strategy in the UK will be clear that these products are not needed, and consider marketing restrictions.

World Health Assembly

Inappropriate marketing of foods to infants and children.

If you missed this resolution and technical document from this years’ World Health Assembly you can access them here:

Click here for the final Guidance
Click here for the resolution that was passed

This was passed despite considerable opposition – and we hope that both WHO and Member States will now consider providing support on how to implement this guidance.

New website for the Scottish ‘Feedgood’ information
FeedGood website

This can now be accessed at


First Steps Nutrition Trust is on semi-sabbatical over summer 2016, so queries will be answered, but may take a little longer.

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. To find out more about the Trust on our About Us page.

First Steps mother and baby
Contact us at:

Follow us on twitter @1stepsnutrition
First Step Nutrition Trust's newsletter is 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