Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monitoring company carelines

I tried a little experiment recently. I bought packs of formula from the main UK manufacturers and called the telephone 'carelines' advertised on the labels. As I wrote in my blog yesterday, companies go to great lengths to persuade parents to call the company for information on infant care. See:

So I thought I would find out what happens if a confused parent calls to try to get their head around the differences between formula. How can you understand which is the best for your child when they all have impressive-sounding claims on them? Such as:
  • Prebiotic care
  • New improved protein balance
  • With omega-3 LCPs
  • Immunofortis
Which is the best?

It turns out they all are. That is what I was told. Each formula has something added which is, so they told me, also in breastmilk, making that particular formula closer than others.

I've written here before about other materials in which each company claims its formula is the best. See:

On the 'carelines' I also asked about the instructions for mixing up formula. Hipp says on its labels that powdered infant formula is not sterile. None of the others do. Hipp says use water at 50-60 deg. C to mix up formula, but the advice from the Food Standards Agency and the World Health Organisation is to use water above 70 deg. C to kill any bacteria in the formula. See:

So what hapened when I asked the advisors on the company 'carelines' about their instructions? Well, in summary. Hipp argued that the FSA guidance was wrong. Some of the other companies said use water at room temperature. Only one said use water at 70 deg. C.

You will find fuller details in our forthcoming Update newsletter, being sent to members next week. Join now if you want a copy (though I must confess, it will be available on our website later). There are edited highlights in a press release we have issued today. See:

If you are interested in being a mystery caller to monitor the 'carelines' then contact me and I'll send you information.

The Baby Feeding Law Group is calling for the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for baby foods to be implemented in the UK, which prohibit companies seeking contact with mothers. We will find out very, very soon if the Government is listening. If it does ban company carelines it will be no great loss. They do not provide useful information, in fact they provide dangerous information. Better to look to independent sources. You can't trust the companies, they are not honest about the risks and how to reduce them.

You can send a message to the Minister responsible at:

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