MNI Grant 2020

The MNI grant rewards national initiatives or research projects for Optimal Nutritional Care. The objective is to support and/or inspire high quality initiatives. Over the past 10 years, the MNI Grant has supported or stimulated ambitious initiatives – endorsed by PEN (or sister) societies worldwide – which have contributed to improving nutritional care policies at national level.
On 22 February 2020, the new European Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/128 on Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) intended for infants will come into force. This regulation updates, but largely retains, the existing rules for FSMPs, including the definitions of the category and the nutritional composition. However, it updates specific requirements for FSMPs intended for infants, including labelling and formulation.The deadline for compliance is 22 February 2020 for all FSMPs intended for infants.
The Optimal Nutritional Care for All (ONCA) campaign is a multi-stakeholder initiative to encourage greater screening for disease-related malnutrition and nutritional care implementation across Europe. It was launched in 2014 and is now in its’ fifth year. The ONCA campaign supports national professional societies, associations and patient groups in public health and health care to implement nutritional risk screening and optimal nutritional care in their country.
BSNA members note EFSA’s scientific opinion on the safe age for the introduction of complementary foods and also take into account the advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on this issue. Our members acknowledge that infants develop at different rates and always recommend that parents speak with a healthcare professional to ensure that their babies are showing appropriate signs of developmental readiness before introducing solid foods.

Celebrating World Food Safety Day

The first ever World Food Safety Day (WFSD) will be celebrated on 7 June 2019 to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development. (UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation 2019).
On 22 February 2019, the new European Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/128 on Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) will come into force. This regulation updates, but largely retains, the existing rules for FSMPs, including the definitions of the category and the nutritional composition. However, it updates specific requirements for FSMPs, including labelling and formulation.The deadline for compliance is 22 February 2019 for all FSMPs for use in patients from one years old, with the rules for FSMPs developed for infants applying from February 2020.
​NHS England has published guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) on the prescribing of gluten-free foods in primary care in England. This follows the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) consultation outcome, to continue to allow access to gluten-free foods on prescription in England but to restrict items to gluten-free bread products and mixes only.

The cost of infant feeding

​Breastfeeding is the best way to feed a baby and is important for both mother and baby’s health and wellbeing. Where a mother chooses not to or is unable to breastfeed BSNA’s members provide a range of formula milks available to meet the nutritional requirements of babies.


Rice is an important contributor to a balanced and healthy diet, and a staple food source for many. Rice based cereals are often used as an important part of the weaning stage of an infant’s diet; healthcare associations continue to encourage parents to feed babies a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of infant cereals including oatmeal, wheat, multigrain or rice, from first weaning.

Feeding the Preterm Infant

Thanks to advances in antenatal care, the overall survival rates for preterm infants has increased in England over the last two decades. These infants are vulnerable and specialist paediatric dietitians have a crucial role to play in providing the nutritional support and intervention required to make sure that the diet of these infants is effectively managed.
BSNA supports the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) new position statement on infant feeding, published on 12 June. Parents should be provided with all the information and support they need to feed their newborn baby. The new position statement from RCM recommends that balanced and relevant information be given to parents choosing to formula feed their babies, whether exclusively or partially, to enable them to do so safely and with support to develop a close and loving bond with the baby. This is to is to be welcomed, in the best interests of both parent and child.
Gluten-free breads and flour mixes should remain on prescription to those who are clinically diagnosed with coeliac disease according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). This announcement follows a National consultation which received an overwhelming number of responses from a range of stakeholders, including patients and clinicians.

​New EU acrylamide legislation

Acrylamide is a chemical substance formed by a reaction between amino acids and sugars, both of which are natural components of plant and plant-derived ingredients. Acrylamide is not deliberately added to foods, it is a natural by-product of the cooking process and typically occurs when foods with high starch content such as potatoes, root vegetables and bread, are cooked at high temperatures (over 120°C).

NEW BSNA Infographic on Baby Foods

BSNA members are committed to supporting parents and care-givers in the feeding of infants in the first three years of life by offering a wide range of specifically formulated food products. To provide an illustrative overview of the key role commercial complementary foods can play in supporting the appropriate nutrient intake in healthy babies, the legislation in place and the current nutritional picture across Europe, BSNA have designed a new baby foods infographic.
All EU countries have a national monitoring programme and all major components of national diet are sampled for pesticide residues. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) carries out this essential monitoring role in the UK. FSA’s pesticide residues surveillance programme monitors pesticide residues* in food and drink, including infant foods, in the UK supply chain.
The infant nutrition industry is committed to acting in a responsible, ethical, and professional manner. Our purpose is to provide safe and adequate nutrition for infants. When marketing follow on-formula and young child formula we provide the information necessary to support their safe and proper use.

The Value of Nutrition on Prescription

Nutrition is imperative to our existence and over the years the awareness of the importance of good nutrition has increased, including the role that nutrition can play in preventing and managing disease and medical conditions. High quality nutritional care should be at the heart of patient care but, in reality, it is still often ignored.

Making a Meal of it

Breastmilk is unequivocally the best source of nutrients for a healthy infant, however in order to provide accurate information and advice to parents, are you updated on the various formula milks available on the market? Katherine Sykes overviews the recent shifts in the regulation, innovation and prescription of formula milks.
Adhering to a GF diet is known to be challenging, and this is shown by levels of adherence ranging between 36-96%. In England, National Prescribing Guidelines recommend prescribing 18 units per month for adults clinically diagnosed with CD. However, a number of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are currently restricting or removing GF prescriptions, resulting in disparity.
Complementary foods, also known as ‘weaning foods’ or ‘baby foods’, facilitate the transition from a liquid diet based on breastmilk or infant formula, to one which includes solid foods. In the UK it is recommended that complementary feeding occurs around 6 months of age. During this period of life, due to rapid growth and development, nutrient needs are very high. Commercially prepared complementary foods can help to ensure parents may always provide a variety of balanced and healthy foods that offer a range of tastes and textures. They can be used as part of a diversified diet to help support the safe nourishment of young children.

Arsenic in Rice - Some Facts

Research carried out at Queens University Belfast by Professor Meharg and colleagues and reported in the media was carried out using products bought in February 2016. This was one month after the application of the legislative requirements. It is likely that all samples were manufactured before the legislation came into force. There have been no validated reports of children or babies becoming ill from the very small amounts of arsenic found in these products. If any safety concern existed in relation to the products on the market before January, 2016, they would have been withdrawn from the market. This did not happen confirming the safety of these products.
Over the past year, there has been an increasing focus on the regulatory environment of formula milks. In May 2016, a resolution was proposed at the World Health Assembly (WHA), which called for the banning of advertising of all formulas for the first three years of life. Over the same summer, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) consulted its members on whether the College should receive any funding from formula milk companies. In late 2016, Alison Thewliss MP introduced a Bill to the House of Commons, Feeding Products for Babies and Children (Advertising and Promotion).

New Public Health England survey: Perceived barriers to breastfeeding

A mother will always want the best for her new born baby and when it comes to feeding, the research demonstrates that breastmilk provides the best nutritional support for a growing infant. However, in reality, breastfeeding rates in the UK are low. New survey data from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England indicates that although almost three-quarters of women start breastfeeding when their child is born, within 6-8 weeks this has dropped to 44%.
Tendering for nutrition supply services can be considered a complex and significant undertaking, involving collaboration from a wide range and diversity of stakeholders. The ‘Best practice for the provision of nutrition supply services including feeds, pumps, consumables, home delivery and associated support services’ document is intended to support procurement groups/clinicians throughout the process and aims to define and encourage best practice with regard to the procurement of nutrition supply services across the whole health economy.
The Telegraph has published an article titled 'Losing weight in old age is 'not normal' and should be seen as alarm bell' discussing the warning signs and consequences of malnutirtion. A study by the Malnutrition Task Force has shown a tripling in the number of patients admitted to hospital suffering from malnutrition over the past decade. Experts have said that losing weight in old age could be an “alarm bell” for malnutrition or cancer, as losing weight is not a normal part of ageing.
BSNA calls on CCGs to ensure that gluten free food is available on prescription. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched its first Quality Standard on coeliac disease, aiming to drive standards in the diagnosis, support and care of people with coeliac disease. It also identifies areas where health inequalities negatively impact patients who suffer from coeliac disease.