Previous newsletters

We provide an archive of previous newsletters for your interest. Please be aware that links within older newsletters may not function and older resources may no longer be available. 



Welcome to the June newsletter. This month we have updated the infant milk reports (again ….) following the launch of Aptamil Sensavia. We now have two mainstream infant formula on the UK market which contain partially hydrolysed protein. Whilst considerable work has been done to show there is no benefit associated with these products in terms of reducing allergy risk or ease of digestion, some new research suggests we should also be looking more carefully at potential risks. More on that below. We have also updated the resource which explains why Danone Nutricia wants to partner with organisations working with pregnant women, infants and children, and which challenges claims that the company is ‘Code compliant’.

 
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We would also like to ask readers to take a few minutes to email their MP to ask for more support for the Healthy Start scheme in England and Wales. Healthy Start vouchers help young and low-income pregnant women, and low income families with children under 4 years of age to buy fruits, vegetables, milk and infant formula.

 

Last year eligible families in England and Wales missed out on an estimated £28.6 million worth of vouchers.

The charity Sustain are coordinating a campaign and asking that the Government invest last year’s underspend of £28.6 million into making sure no eligible families miss out on this vital support next year. Just click on this e-action: https://sustainweb.eaction.org.uk/lobby/healthystart and it will take you to a page where you can find your MP and send them a message.

 

 
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The charity Sustain is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and if you don’t know about all the amazing work they do to support better food, farming and public health then check out their many projects and campaigns on their website www.sustainweb.org

Happy Birthday from all of us.

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Updated reports this month

We have updated ‘Infant Milks in the UK’,  ‘Costs of infant milks marketed in the UK’ and ‘Infant formula - An overview’ to include the new Aptamil Sensavia infant milks.

Infant milks in the UK

A practical guide for health professionals

June 2019

 

Costs of infant milks marketed in the UK

June 2019

Infant formula - An overview

June 2019

 

All the above reports can be found regularly here on the website: www.firststepsnutrition.org/composition-claims-and-costs

 

Partially hydrolysed infant formula

 
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Both Aptamil’s new range of infant milks ‘Sensavia’ and SMA Advanced milks contain partially hydrolysed proteins and are the first mainstream infant formula to do so.

‘Aptamil Sensavia’ is being marketed with images of infants on soft blankets, or the product itself sitting on a furry background, with feathery pink images on the product label and big letters saying that the milk protein has been broken into smaller pieces. This, and the name, suggests that the product is linked to softness and sensitivity – with claims made in the health professional literature that partially hydrolysed protein aids easier digestion.

Previously partially hydrolysed proteins have been used in products to make claims related to prevention of allergy (for example for SMA H.A) or ease of digestion (for example in comfort milks). You can read our summary of the claims and evidence related to this in section 5.10 of the report ‘Infant milks in the UK’.

Many academics and expert committees have spent considerable time and money reviewing evidence related to the claimed benefits of partially hydrolysed infant milks, but much less time and capacity has been spent on looking at what the risks might be of giving infants these products. A recent paper in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology1 reporting from a large French longitudinal study has reported that not only was the use of partially hydrolysed formula not associated with a lower risk of allergy development, but its use at 2 months of age was associated with a greater risk of wheezing and food allergy in children at 1 and 2 years of age (Davisse-Paturet et al, 2019).

The hypothesis for a relationship between partially hydrolysed proteins in infant formula and food allergy development lies in the development of particular substances called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) which are present in much higher amounts in partially or fully hydrolysed infant milks. We are currently gathering evidence to explore the potential link between the use of hydrolysed formula and food allergy development and hope to report on this for the next newsletter. There is increasing concern about the links between ultra-processed foods and later health outcomes across populations. A number of processing end products can be found in infant milks and baby food that we should pay particular attention to and we will be thinking about this more in the coming months.

1 Davisse-Paturet C, Raherison C, Adel-Patient K et al (2019) Use of partially hydrolysed formula in infancy and incidence of eczema, respiratory symptoms or food allergies in toddlers from the ELFE study. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology first published 17th June 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/pal.1.3094.


Why Danone Nutricia want to be your partner

We have updated this report that looks at why a large multi-national breastmilk substitute company might be keen to partner with organisations that support pregnant women, infants and young children. We have heard that some organisations are persuaded that companies are ‘Code compliant’ based on their own version of the Code and in this resource we explain the differences between the company Code and the WHO Code, and highlight evidence for Code violations globally.


In case you missed it

 

 

“Scientific and factual?”

A further review of breastmilk substitute advertising to healthcare professionals

This new report considers 9 further adverts for breastmilk substitutes that appeared in the healthcare professional literature in 2018/2019. As with the previous report in 2016 we highlight the claims made and the evidence given to support these. We believe that in many cases little robust evidence is given to support claims, and that many adverts are not ‘Scientific and Factual’ as they are required to be by law.

 

This resource focuses on advertisements for specialist milks, and it is important to highlight that all breastmilk substitutes are covered by the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Some people have been told that specialist milks are ‘exempt’ but the Code clearly states that it covers all breastmilk substitutes which includes ‘all milks that are specifically marketed for feeding infants and young children up to the age of 3 years’.

We hope this report will be useful in encouraging journals, proprietors of journals, editors and those professional associations that still accept advertising from the breastmilk substitute industry to reflect on whether allowing these advertisements are helpful to their readers or members.This new report considers 9 further adverts for breastmilk substitutes that appeared in the healthcare professional literature in 2018/2019. As with the previous report in 2016 we highlight the claims made and the evidence given to support these. We believe that in many cases little robust evidence is given to support claims, and that many adverts are not ‘Scientific and Factual’ as they are required to be by law.


This month we have several updated reports and launch a further review of adverts for health professionals in a 2019 update to the ‘Scientific and Factual?’ resource. We also highlight the new Baby Feeding Law Group website and a report that they have produced asking for three infant milks currently sold over the counter, but which require use under medical supervision, to be removed from the shelves. We will be moving some of our work to the Baby Feeding Law Group site, so the publication ‘Websites and organisations funded by the breastmilk substitute industry’ will be rebranded to be a BFLG publication and will appear on that website soon.

We also have some good news to end the newsletter with – so do keep reading!


 

Updated reports this month

Last month we updated the ‘Infant Milks in the UK’ report and the report ‘Costs of infant milks marketed in the UK’ to include 5 new Nestle products, and we have now updated:

Infant formula -
An overview

 
 

Infant milks:

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

We have made some small updates to the ‘Specialised Infant Milks in the UK’ report this year (without changing the date on the cover – we only do this when we have done a full review of all products) and will be updating this resource over the coming months.

Eating well: the first year

A guide to introducing solids and eating well up to baby’s first birthday

 

Baby Feeding Law Group UK

 
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Baby Feeding law Group launched its new website this month which can be accessed at www.bflg-uk.org.

Baby Feeding Law Group is an alliance of 23 organisations which aims to protect infant feeding in the UK through advocating for better regulation on product composition, safety and marketing, for the WHO Code to be brought into law and to challenge conflict of interest. The aim is to protect both breastfed and formula fed infants and their families, believing that everyone deserves independent accurate information about products and that babies are too important to be at the mercy of marketing messages. First Steps Nutrition Trust is acting as the secretariat for BFLG during 2019.

This week the BFLG are launching a new report:

Comfort milks, lactose-free infant milks and anti-reflux milks

Why these products should be removed from shop, supermarket and pharmacy shelves

Despite EU regulations clearly stating that these products should only be used under medical supervision, these products are freely available for families to buy without advice and support. The report highlights why we believe families need better protection. Alison Thewliss MP has written to Jackie Doyle-Price (the current Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention who has infant feeding within her remit) to ask for a meeting with BFLG members to discuss this further. For more information see the BFLG website.

 

 

“Scientific and factual?”

A further review of breastmilk substitute advertising to healthcare professionals

 

This resource focuses on advertisements for specialist milks, and it is important to highlight that all breastmilk substitutes are covered by the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Some people have been told that specialist milks are ‘exempt’ but the Code clearly states that it covers all breastmilk substitutes which includes ‘all milks that are specifically marketed for feeding infants and young children up to the age of 3 years’.

We hope this report will be useful in encouraging journals, proprietors of journals, editors and those professional associations that still accept advertising from the breastmilk substitute industry to reflect on whether allowing these advertisements are helpful to their readers or members.This new report considers 9 further adverts for breastmilk substitutes that appeared in the healthcare professional literature in 2018/2019. As with the previous report in 2016 we highlight the claims made and the evidence given to support these. We believe that in many cases little robust evidence is given to support claims, and that many adverts are not ‘Scientific and Factual’ as they are required to be by law.


Statement on the EFSA Consultation on the appropriate age for introduction of complimentary feeding into an infant’s diet

 
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EFSA produced a scientific opinion on the appropriate age of complementary feeding which went out to public consultation in May (closing May 29th). Along with many other organisations we submitted comments to the consultation but also produced a statement outlining some of our concerns with the question asked, the methodology and the conclusion. You can find our statement here.

 

In case you missed it:

 
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Nestle have launched three new products under the  SMA Advanced brand which contain artificial ‘human milk oligosaccharides’. These are of course not sourced from human milk but are made enzymatically to be structurally identical to two oligosaccharides that have been determined in human milk. On the Nestle website, and in a clinical evidence summary distributed by the company, there are a number of suggested benefits to infant health from the addition of these components to infant formula. We have looked at the evidence provided for the suggested benefits and you can find our statement on this here.

 

Some good news

We are pleased to report that at their annual conference in May the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health voted to adopt the World Health Assembly resolution 69.9 into their interpretation of the WHO Code. The college announced earlier this year that it would no longer take funding from the breastmilk substitute industry which is very much welcomed.

The British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) have also decided to no longer have any breastmilk substitute stands at their conference this September, and this follows the same decision made for the REaSoN conference being held this July.

We hope that more and more conferences and professional associations will take the decision to avoid supporting the marketing of products by companies that sell food for infants and young children. If health professionals want information about breastmilk substitutes they can of course ask companies specific questions, but it is important they also look more widely than the marketing literature before they make decisions on which product to use.


Welcome to the additional April newsletter

April 2019

And welcome to all our new newsletter subscribers. We have lots of work in the pipeline here at First Steps and hope to have a number of new resources and statements in the coming months. But this month we have some good news, which we are sure most of our readers have already heard, and also report on plans for the Baby Feeding Law Group which we are secretariat for in 2019.


 
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In the last month we had some welcome news from the BMJ group of publications that they would no longer take advertising from the breastmilk substitute industry. You can read their rationale here.


 
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Many people will also have seen the Channel 4 Dispatches programme ‘The great formula milk scandal’ which can (until April 17th) be accessed here. This has also sparked some interesting further work which we hope to report on in due course. 

 

 

We have updated our short resource ‘Websites and organisations funded by the breastmilk substitute industry

This provides information on good sources of information on infant and young child feeding, as well as highlighting websites and organisations that are funded or work in partnership with the BMS industry. If anyone comes across other websites or projects not featured here do let us know.

 

Baby Feeding Law Group UK

 
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The Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG) was set up over 20 years ago with the aim of protecting babies’ health by ending marketing practices which commercialise infant feeding and threaten breastfeeding. BFLG UK is working to strengthen UK baby feeding laws in line with UN recommendations, and currently has over 20 member groups who share the aim of bringing the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions into UK law.

First Steps Nutrition Trust has taken over the secretariat role for BFLG during 2019 and have been working with the membership to agree a new terms of reference for the group and priorities and actions for the coming year. We will also be launching a new website shortly (with a new simpler web address) and have a new twitter feed @bflgUK.

 

Conference season

We are pleased that we will be at a number of conferences this spring and summer:

 
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April 26th/27th
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain conference in Daventry.
Details here.

 
 

 
 
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May 9th
Institute of Health Visiting ‘Health for all children’ conference in Manchester.
Details here.

 
 

 
 
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June 22nd
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 40th anniversary conference.
Details here.

 

And later in the year we will be at the CPHVA conference in October and the Unicef Baby Friendly Conference in November.
 
The next First Steps Nutrition Trust conference will be in April 2020.


In case you missed it:

We updated four of our infant milk reports in February 2019 and you can access all of these here on the website


Welcome to the April newsletter

April 2019

Welcome to the April newsletter, and welcome to all our new newsletter subscribers. We have lots of work in the pipeline here at First Steps and hope to have a number of new resources and statements in the coming months. But this month we have some good news, which we are sure most of our readers have already heard, and also report on plans for the Baby Feeding Law Group which we are secretariat for in 2019.


 
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In the last month we had some welcome news from the BMJ group of publications that they would no longer take advertising from the breastmilk substitute industry. You can read their rationale here.


 
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Many people will also have seen the Channel 4 Dispatches programme ‘The great formula milk scandal’ (you can see a clip here if you missed it) and this has also sparked some interesting further work which we hope to report on in due course. 

 

 

We have updated our short resource ‘Websites and organisations funded by the breastmilk substitute industry

This provides information on good sources of information on infant and young child feeding, as well as highlighting websites and organisations that are funded or work in partnership with the BMS industry. If anyone comes across other websites or projects not featured here do let us know.

 

Baby Feeding Law Group UK

 
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The Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG) was set up over 20 years ago with the aim of protecting babies’ health by ending marketing practices which commercialise infant feeding and threaten breastfeeding. BFLG UK is working to strengthen UK baby feeding laws in line with UN recommendations, and currently has over 20 member groups who share the aim of bringing the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions into UK law.

First Steps Nutrition Trust has taken over the secretariat role for BFLG during 2019 and have been working with the membership to agree a new terms of reference for the group and priorities and actions for the coming year. We will also be launching a new website shortly (with a new simpler web address) and have a new twitter feed @bflgUK.

 

Conference season

We are pleased that we will be at a number of conferences this spring and summer:

 
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April 26th/27th
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain conference in Daventry.

Details here.

 

 
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May 9th
Institute of Health Visiting ‘Health for all children’ conference in Manchester. Details here.

 

 
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June 22nd
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 40th anniversary conference.
Details here.

 

In case you missed it:

We updated four of our infant milk reports in February 2019 and you can access all of these here on the website


February 2019 newsletter

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2019, and welcome to all our new newsletter subscribers.

This month we have updates to our infant milk reports and some infant milk news and reminders about some publications that came out at the end of last year. First Steps is moving into a new office in February 2019 and we are also pleased to announce the appointment of Vicky Sibson as deputy director for the charity. Vicky will be working with us 4 days a week from this month.


 

Introducing Vicky

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Vicky is a Public Health Nutritionist with a masters degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Vicky has spent most of her career working as a nutrition adviser in international NGOs, largely in humanitarian settings. During this time she gained a particular interest in and passion for infant and young child nutrition and feeding as well as operational research. She led Save the Children's emergency nutrition response to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, concentrating on protecting, promoting and supporting optimal infant feeding among the cyclone affected populations. Vicky is looking forward to bringing her international experience to bear in the UK context.

vicky@firststepsnutrition.org

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First Steps new address:

The Food Exchange
New Covent Garden Market
London SW8 5EL

 

Infant milk news

 
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Many of our readers will have followed our investigation into changes to Aptamil formulations last year, and you can read the statements we made outlining the questions we asked Danone Nutricia about the reformulated product, and the responses we received here.

 

One of our questions to the Department of Health and Social Care regulators was whether, under UK food law, the presence of fermented ingredients in a product should be included on the label. We have now been told by the regulatory team at DHSC that yes, the presence of a fermented ingredient in infant milks should have been highlighted on the label. Danone Nutricia have been asked to amend their labels ‘at their next labelling update’. In adding this information to the label, however, we hope that no claims for any benefit for the addition of fermented ingredients will be made or implied.

We have updated the section on formula with added fermented ingredients (also known as ‘acidified milks’ or milks with ‘postbiotics’) in section 3.12.1 of the report Infant Milks in the UK. In our review of the available data there is insufficient evidence to suggest any benefit to the addition of fermented milk to infant formula.

 
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Those that shop in Lidl may have noticed that Aptamil and Cow & Gate infant milks sold in this shop are packaged in tins, not in cardboard packs (the manufacturer calls these Ezypacks) and are 700g rather than the standard 800g. The price however is the same /100g wherever you buy the product. We have been told that the product is the same composition regardless of packaging type, but as the tinned product is not made in the same factory, Aptamil and Cow & Gate products marketed in tins at Lidl are not halal approved.

 

Infant milk report updates

 

We have updated this report and you can see the sections of the report that have had changes made to them here.

We have included new tables which highlight products that are only available by mail order in the UK. At the moment, however, it is not clear where Castlemil milk can be purchased, or the cost of these products, so please do get in touch if you come across families using this brand of infant milk.

 

We have also updated the following reports:


In case you missed it:

New Reports on processed dried fruit snacks and fruit and vegetable based purées in pouches.

We launched two new reports at our conference which take a further look at some of the foods marketed to infants and young children in the UK.

 
 

Both reports make a series of recommendations as to how these products may be better labelled and formulated to protect infant and young child health. We are extremely concerned that high sugar foods and snacks are marketed to families as being ‘fruit and vegetable’ equivalent and that families are being misled as to the healthiness of products. We hope these reports are useful to health professionals when discussing eating well with families they work with and we will be using this work as we press for better compositional and labelling regulations for baby food in the UK


 

Sweet enough already: artificial sweeteners in the diets of young children in the UK

This new short report looks at the data available on artificial sweetener intake in infants and young children in the UK, and highlights an increasing trend for artificially sweetened products on the market.

 

The key message from this report is that there needs to be much more research on the impact of the current sugar reduction programme on the intakes of sweeteners by vulnerable population groups. Better public health messaging is also needed to highlight that overall sweet tastes in foods should be reduced and that simple sugar replacement with sweeteners may lead to unintended consequences for some consumers.


December 2018 newsletter

Thank you to everyone who came to our conference on November 27th – it was lovely to see so many people there and you can see the programme and some of the presentations here on the website - Events.


New Reports on processed dried fruit snacks and fruit and vegetable based purées in pouches.

We launched two new reports at our conference which take a further look at some of the foods marketed to infants and young children in the UK.

 
 

Both reports make a series of recommendations as to how these products may be better labelled and formulated to protect infant and young child health. We are extremely concerned that high sugar foods and snacks are marketed to families as being ‘fruit and vegetable’ equivalent and that families are being misled as to the healthiness of products. We hope these reports are useful to health professionals when discussing eating well with families they work with and we will be using this work as we press for better compositional and labelling regulations for baby food in the UK


UK Infant milk news

 
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A new mail order only infant milk was launched in the UK last month from Arla foods. First infant milk and follow-on formula are available online under the ‘Baby and Me’ name. These organic milks made in Denmark retail at £12.00/800g. There is also a range of ‘Baby and Me’ porridges, one of which is marketed for infants from 4 months+.

 

We will include details of this product in the new year update of the Infant Milk reports.

Overdiagnosis and industry influence: how cows’ milk protein allergy is extending the reach of infant formula manufacturers.

Many of you will have seen the article in the British Medical Journal on 5th December. For anyone who hasn’t seen it it can be accessed here.

As a footnote to the article it states that the ’BMJ accepts advertisements for specialist breast milk substitutes provided that they are legal and honest and meet advertising standards. We expect all claims of health benefit to be supported by published peer reviewed research evidence.’

The issue of whether many adverts for BMS products are honest and provide sufficient evidence for claims made or implied remains an area that needs further exposure. In 2019 we will be publishing an update of our previous report ‘Scientific and Factual?’ a review of breastmilk substitute advertising to healthcare professionals.  We still believe that many of the adverts that health professionals are subjected to in professional journals and magazines are misleading and that the support of a claim by selected research evidence, even when this has been peer reviewed, is not in itself sufficient.


 

Sweet enough already: artificial sweeteners in the diets of young children in the UK

This new short report looks at the data available on artificial sweetener intake in infants and young children in the UK, and highlights an increasing trend for artificially sweetened products on the market.

 

The key message from this report is that there needs to be much more research on the impact of the current sugar reduction programme on the intakes of sweeteners by vulnerable population groups. Better public health messaging is also needed to highlight that overall sweet tastes in foods should be reduced and that simple sugar replacement with sweeteners may lead to unintended consequences for some consumers.


First Steps is on the move

 

Over Christmas and the New Year we are moving into our new office in Vauxhall. Full details will be sent round in the January newsletter.
 
The First Steps office will be closed from 24th December until January 3rd.

 

Wishing everyone a relaxing and happy break.


October 2019 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.

 
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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:

China

 

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.

 

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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

 
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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.

 

Conference 2018 newsletter

Hope everyone has that back to school feeling, energised for the last quarter of 2018. Tickets are selling fast for our joint conference with HENRY this year on November 27th in Kensington Town Hall. You can see the programme and more details of the event here.

 

The theme of the conference is ‘what works’ to improve the nutritional health and well-being of infants and young children and you can buy tickets for the event at www.fbsresources.com.

 

At the conference we will be launching two new resources (which attendees will receive copies of):

  • A short report on processed dried fruit snacks for young children and why we believe these need much stricter regulation around labelling

  • A resource looking specifically at the pureed fruit and vegetable products marketed in the UK to infants and young children from all manufacturers, and why we believe these products should be discouraged on nutritional and environmental grounds.


 

September 2018 newsletter

Infant milk news

New Statement on Aptamil products

As most readers will know there has been considerable publicity about changes to the composition of some Danone Nutricia Aptamil brand powdered infant milks. We made a statement about what we knew about the changes to products in July and we have now reviewed the research evidence about the product provided to us by Danone Nutricia. We have some specific questions we have asked Danone Nutricia to help us work out exactly what the ‘unique process’ is that has changed the composition of powdered Aptamil first milk, follow on formula and growing up milks, and to get some clarity over evidence they have for safety and efficacy. We will publish any response we get, but we hope the statement might help others who are in conversation with the company about changes to the products.


You can access the new statement here.

 

New specialised milk product with probiotics

 A new amino-acid based specialised infant milk for use from birth called Neocate Syneo for infants with food allergies was launched earlier this year. This has added probiotics, making it the second specialised formula on the UK market to contain these. We have added this product to the Specialised milk report (pictured below) and summarised the evidence being provided for the claims being made for it.
 
Please note: the Specialised milk report is still dated January 2018 as we have not done a full update of products at this time, a new version of this report will be out in the Autumn.

Using probiotics in infant milks requires the powdered formulation to be made up with water at a temperature lower than 70ºc, which is advised in the UK to ensure that any pathogenic bacteria in the powdered milk is destroyed. The evidence for benefits of probiotics in specialised infant milks have not been agreed by an independent expert committee, but in infant formula for term babies EFSA have said that there is no benefit to their addition:- 

www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3760

We are currently completing a review of the risks associated with bacterial contamination of powdered infant formula which we hope to make available by the end of the month. Whilst any benefits of adding probiotics in infant milks have not been fully established, risks related to contamination have, and consideration needs to be given to this if milks containing probiotics are recommended or prescribed.

We receive regular global alerts about the presence of harmful bacteria in infant milks – in the last few months there have been recalls of products in Chile, France and Singapore where bacterial contaminants have been isolated. We are grateful to the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and the International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC) for their recording of incidences, the latest of which you can access here.

You can find out more about what these organisations do here: www.ibfan-icdc.org as well as the latest international code violations reported.

And as we all ponder on what might happen as we ‘brexit’ from the EU, and which products might in the future make their way on to the UK market, perhaps we should pay some attention to some of the ‘innovations’ happening elsewhere such as this one highlighted as a Code violation by ibfan-icdc.


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These Japanese ‘cubes’ of infant formula (above) raised eyebrows in our office: hard to imagine how hot water could ever penetrate the blocks fast enough to be safe, questioning the ‘hygienic’ claims being made.


Healthy Start: What happened? What next?

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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.

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

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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.

You can find out more information about the event here.


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We also pleased to say we will be at the Breastfeeding Network annual conference in Birmingham on Saturday 6th October.
 
More details of this event can be found here.