October newsletter 2018

Welcome to the October newsletter


We are looking forward to our conference on November 27th and to meeting many of our newsletter followers there, and at the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Conference in Liverpool on November 15th and 16th.

There are a few tickets left for the joint First Steps Nutrition Trust and HENRY conference and ticket sales close on November 2nd. We will put up presentations and details of the event on our website after the event for those who can’t join us.


Climate change

Many readers will have seen the latest predictions for climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It feels appropriate that this is headline news in our newsletter as the dire warnings given of the need to accelerate change seem to have been quickly forgotten by the UK media.

We have always been mindful of the importance of food choice in mitigating greenhouse gas emission in the resources we produce, and in the promotion of breastfeeding as good for people and the planet. Many of the meal choices in our resources are plant based and we will be looking at how to provide more detailed information on sustainable eating from pre-conception to five years in the next year.


Those working in early years settings might be interested in our updated short resource (pictured) on how early years settings can support more sustainable food choices, and the new version can be accessed here, or by clicking on the cover.


We would also like to highlight new work on the environmental cost of breastmilk substitutes from BPNI/IBFAN.


Use of Breastmilk Substitutes (BMS) has a negative impact on the environment due to release of greenhouse gases (GHG) during manufacturing, processing, packaging, transportation and distribution of both breastmilk substitutes and the associated bottles, teats and other equipment required.


All of this puts a burden on the planet and this was described in the earlier IBFAN report Formula for Disaster.

Taking this work further, BPNI/IBFAN developed an innovative method to estimate GHG emissions from formula use in 10 Asian countries, and a series of report cards have been produced under the title GreenFeeding to achieve Global Nutrition Targets 2025: Report Card on Carbon Footprints due to Breastmilk Substitutes (BMS).

For example, see China's report card below:



You can explore the report cards by clicking on the country links below:


UK Infant milk news

Statement on Aptamil #3

Following our questions to Danone Nutricia at the end of August (to which we received a response at the beginning of October) we have now produced another statement updating the information we have so far. Danone Nutricia have now told us that the ‘unique formulation’ for Aptamil first infant milk, follow on formula and growing up milk powders, and the 70ml RTF bottle involves the addition of 26% fermented milk (milk which has had bacteria added and then killed off). Despite no agreed evidence that the use of a proportion of fermented milk has beneficial health effects for infants, claims are being made by the company on its website, in the health professional literature and in mailings. Evidence for many of these claims comes from work that has not been published in a peer reviewed journal.

Danone Nutricia also told us that the 1500 babies they had said the product had been tested on is in fact the number of infants in any trial of a part-fermented milk since 1994. As far as we can see no trials have been conducted using a product that is the same as the one on the UK market, but we await further confirmation of this.

We have still not been told what the active metabolites are that remain in the product from the fermentation. Danone Nutricia however told us that they have ‘standardised the process with strict quality criteria and therefore we are confident that the metabolites types and levels are the same with every production’. This will mean that they are able to provide information on what these metabolites are and we hope this information will be made available.

We have asked the questions again that we didn’t get a response to this month to try and get more clarity about the product. We believe that there should be full transparency about the composition of any product marketed for infants, and it is disappointing that it takes many months after a product has been put on the market to find out its composition and formulation.

You can access the new statement here.


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

We have updated the information in this report which can be accessed here, or by clicking on the report cover.

We have updated the price information where this is available, but have not been able to access information on some products which are supplied directly to hospitals. If anyone can access this information we would be very pleased to update the prices of these products.


We would also like to highlight two new Cochrane systematic reviews which again report that there is insufficient evidence for claims that:

or, that:


Websites and organisations funded by the formula industry

We have updated this short resource that highlights where conflict of interest free information on infant and young child feeding can be found, and which organisations and websites are associated with the breastmilk substitute industry.

Access this report here, or by clicking on the cover.



We would again like to congratulate the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) for no longer having advertising for breastmilk substitutes in their Community Practitioner magazine and at their conference. We were sorry to miss the conference this year but look forward to supporting future CPHVA events.

In case you missed it


Healthy Start: What happened? What next?

This new report summarises the history of the Healthy Start scheme since it started in 2006, explains why we believe a welfare food scheme for pregnant women, infants and young children is needed and reviews whether Healthy Start has met its goals.

Access this report here, or by clicking on the cover.


The report contains a number of recommendations of how the scheme might be adapted to make it fit for purpose at the current time, and in the future, which we hope will be useful to anyone responding to the forthcoming consultation from the Department of Health which was promised in the recent Childhood Obesity: A plan for action. Chapter 2

There are also a number of recommendations for local areas on how they can promote the Healthy Start scheme and encourage uptake, and to encourage local authorities and cities to include  Healthy Start in local food poverty action plans, plans to maximise family incomes and work to promote sustainable and local fruit and vegetable consumption.

Unicef UK Baby Friendly Conference 2018


First Steps Nutrition Trust is looking forward to having a stand at the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative conference in Liverpool, being held on November 15th and 16th this year. As usual there is a great line up of speakers and we hope people will visit our stand to hear how we can continue to support those working in Baby Friendly accredited settings with independent information on infant milks and working within the WHO Code.


Statements & Press releases