Thursday, May 29, 2008

Responses to UK consultation on formula Guidance Notes published

Many thanks to everyone who sent messages regarding the UK Government's Guidance Notes for the new formula regulations, supporting our comments.

The Food Standards Agency has just published the responses with their comments. You can find these at:

There were 434 individual responses supporting our position.

Company responses are very telling. For example, the Infant and Dietetic Food Association is opposed to warning parents that powdered infant formula is not sterile and how to reduce the risks. It says:

We do not support the alternative wording proposed in the guidance notes on the grounds that this may be alarmist and not easily understood by the consumer. Such a warning statement could lead consumers to use inappropriate products such as other powdered milk or other liquids (not infant or follow-on formulae) which do not have such warnings

The FSA reply to this is:

FSA-funded focus group research found that caregivers were concerned that powder formula was not sterile. Overall, as it poses a potential risk to babies, parents and healthcare professionals agreed that information about non – sterility and what it means should be clearly communicated to parents, so that they can make informed decisions and choices.

Unfortunately the government has not made it a legal requirement for companies to put warnings on labels and instructions on how to reduce risks. So it seems unlikely that they will do so. Will it take more unnecessary deaths before the government takes action?

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