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Eating well in pregnancy
Infant feeding
Eating well from birth to five


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January 2015

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2015.

This month we have been busy updating the Infant Milks in the UK report, and checking all the latest compositional data, products available and current scientific thinking on ingredients.

Infant milks in the UK

The new report is available here on the website if you want to check any products or find out what The European Food Safety Authority has said about the essential composition of infant formula. We are however planning some further changes to layout – and some additional sections – so don’t print it out just yet! We will send an alert round when we have completed the changes and will explain how to make a new master copy which will be easier to update.


We have also updated the Simple Guide to Infant formula, follow on formula and other infant milks since there are now no cows’ milk or goats’ milk based infant formula on the market which are vegetarian. This is because rennet is used in the preparation of curds and whey, and the lactose that is added to infant formula is made from the whey.

Radio 4 Food Programme ‘The Secret Formula’

Some of you may have heard the Radio 4 Food Programme broadcast on January 25th this year, which was very disappointing in its coverage of infant formula composition and production. Despite a lot of work by us with the production team to explain the importance of the new EFSA ruling on the essential composition of infant formula, and the important statements they have made about unnecessary ingredients and the burden these may place on a young infant’s metabolism, this was not made clear in the programme.

A few of the important things to note are:

  • Infant formula factories have the same stringent hygiene procedures as all food factories, but powdered infant formula milk is not sterile. This is why we have clear guidance on how to make up milks safely to kill any bacteria present. It was unfortunate the programme did not make this clear.

  • The programme suggested that all infant milks are made from fresh, whole cows’ milk brought in to the factory daily, but the factory was probably making growing-up milks for the Asian market. These are more simply ‘dried milk’ as they do not have to adhere to compositional regulations and are much less modified. It is likely that most infant formula is made from component parts such as protein fractions, lactose, oils and so on that are shipped in from different countries.

  • All health experts, from those in the World Health Organisation globally, to the Department of Health here in England, agree that there is no need for follow on formula. The claim made that these products are needed for iron is not true, and all first infant formula in the UK provide enough iron for infants across the first year of life (based on the new EFSA scientific opinion on infant nutrition requirements).

  • There is no pre-authorisation of novel ingredients added to infant formula by independent expert bodies. The companies simply need to provide their own evidence of an ingredients efficacy if this is requested by a ‘competent authority’ in a member state (in the UK that is the Department of Health, or the Health Departments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

Discussions will soon start taking place about new EU regulations for the composition, labelling and marketing of infant formula, follow on formula, and milks which are currently called foods for special medical purposes (and which will be re-named ‘foods for special groups’). We will be encouraging the UK Government to strongly consider the EFSA scientific opinion on the essential composition of infant formula in its deliberations, and encourage them to bring all infant milk marketing and promotion in line with the WHO Code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes.

A number of organisations will be working to support better regulation of infant milks, and members and friends of organisations that work to promote safe infant feeding in the UK may be asked to write and support stronger regulation in due course. Watch this space!

New Resources

Eating well for new mums We have a new resource on packed lunches for 1-4 year olds almost completed, and we will hopefully have this ready for the website in the next few weeks.

Eating Well poster

We are also making some posters which can be used in early years settings with simple golden rules and steps to eating well for babies and for 1-4 year olds.

These have been inspired by the new Brazilian dietary guidelines which take a holistic, ecological public health approach to nutritional guidance with clear and simple golden rules and key steps to eating well for all.

We hope these will be useful in areas which are registered or accredited UNICEF Baby Friendly and which cannot use posters or resources funded by organisations that are funded by the formula milk companies (such as The Infant and Toddler Forum).

We will provide more information about these in the next newsletter.

Other news

BDA pediatrics group

The Paediatric Group of The British Dietetic Association have re-launched their leaflets to support eating well in children.


These can all be purchased at:

We have also put together a pack of 6 of our First Steps Nutrition Trust publications that would be useful for libraries or resource areas, and all 6 can be purchased for £80 including p&p.

You can order this at:

Healthy Start Alliance
The website at has been newly updated.
HSA website pages

First Steps Nutrition Trust
continues to coordinate the Healthy Start Alliance which is enjoying a growing number of organisations and individuals pledging their support.

To join the Alliance please 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