> Formula Milk Bill Gains Support in House of Commons - The Food Safety Company Formula Milk Bill Gains Support in House of Commons - The Food Safety Company
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    Friday, 18 November 2016

    Formula Milk Bill Gains Support in House of Commons

    A new bill proposed by SNP MP Alison Thewliss, aimed at tightening regulations concerning the marketing of baby formula milk, has received unanimous backing from MPs, allowing Ms Thewliss to take her bill forward for a second reading in parliament.

    Ms Thewliss is calling for increased independent testing for formula milk in order to prevent parents from being confused by potentially misleading health claims, which she states are often based purely on the company’s own research, which has not been peer-reviewed or independently verified.

    It is already illegal to promote breast-milk substitutes for consumption by babies under 6 months old, but Ms Thewliss, speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, said that this had simply prompted companies to switch focus to ‘follow on’ formulas and toddler milks, for which there is no justifiable need. She also hopes to close a legal loophole allowing the advertising of formula milk in medical journals.

    Speaking in defence of the industry, the British Specialist Nutrition Association (BSNA) stated that the content of the formula is already tightly regulated, based on advice from the European Food Safety Authority’s experts, and that all contents are "clearly declared, as required by law, on the pack". For Ms Thewliss however, those laws are lacking; she cites the presence of probiotics as one example where regulations are in need of tightening:

    Alison Thewliss MP
     "As an example, there's been a trend towards putting probiotics into formula milk and there's no evidence really to suggest that is necessary for babies at all.

    "So for parents, they might read that on the packaging and might think that's an interesting thing, but they can't actually get any independent information about whether or not that is something that is of value to your baby.

    "So what I would like to see is a good deal more independent verification and testing of formula to make sure first of all what is said on the tin is actually in the tin, and that the health claims that are being made are actually valid."

    As it turns out, Ms Thewliss is not alone in this battle, with NHS Scotland also fighting her corner. Their own recommendations state that, "If you are formula feeding, first milk is the only food your baby needs for the first six months of life. There are different brands of infant formula but there is no real difference between them. Other formulas are also available for babies aged six months and over, such as 'follow-on formula', 'toddler formula' and 'growing up milk'. There is no need to switch to any of these formulas - babies can drink first milks until they are one year old.”

    Ms Thewliss still needs her bill to win over government support before it can become law, but she seems to have won the initial skirmish. More time is need before any real change can happen in regard to this matter, but we will try to keep you updated as news develops.

    Sam Bonson

    Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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