Breastmilk is the best nutrition for a baby and the first feeds protect against infection as antibodies are passed to the baby. Where a mother cannot, or chooses not to, breastfeed, infant formula is the only safe alternative that should be used. 

The content of infant formula is tightly regulated and is based on scientific advice from experts in the European Food Safety Authority with the legislation then being approved by the European Parliament and Member States including the UK Government. This ensures that the appropriate nutrients are provided to the baby in the appropriate amounts. The content is clearly declared, as required by law, on the pack.

Manufacturing facilities are subject to Food Safety Act inspections by local authorities. Local authorities can also request to examine all production records, quality release documentation & laboratory results.

Most importantly, in terms of enforcement, Trading Standards and/or the Food Standards Authority take samples and have them analysed to ensure the product meets all regulatory requirements. If a serious breach of the law occurred, the matter could be prosecuted as a criminal offence with very serious consequences not to mention reputational damage. 

The public can be reassured that the products are safe.

The provision of information to healthcare professionals (HCPs) such as health visitors and nurses, is important as the science of nutrition advances – just this year, new legislation was introduced further refining the nutritional content of infant formula. It is important that the industry, along with other parties who are familiar with the nutritional content of these products, can provide information to HCPs who are then informed in terms of providing advice to mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed. 

Under the law, including UK law, formula intended for infants under 6 months cannot be advertised to the public and the industry does not advertise to the public. 

Formula intended for older children may be advertised as this is long after the decision to breastfeed or not has been taken.