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.
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.
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:-
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.
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?
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
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.