Formula warnings will 'stress' mothers

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Labels warning of health risks associated with infant formula are being sought by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

An FSANZ consultation paper calls for submissions on proposals, including warnings which could either replace or be in addition to the "breast is best" statement, already mandatory on infant formula products.

Risks associated with not breastfeeding include slower cognitive development, weaker immunity and obesity.

The idea has divided experts.

Midwife and founder of the Holistic Baby support group Cathy McCormick said the warnings would distress mothers forced to use formula and was unsure if putting labels on a formula cans would stop them using it.

"It will just make them feel bad. "

Breastfeeding Authority lactation consultant Dawn Hunter said it should clear up the confusion around the "breast is best" message where women understood breastfeeding was better but assumed formula would cause no harm.

"If it's not human milk, it could ultimately pose a risk to the baby's health.

"Mothers need to know that," she said.

Jan Carey, chief executive of the industry-backed Infant Nutrition Council, slammed warnings as "scaremongering" and said it would create stress and anxiety for parents.

The consultation paper was part of a review of regulation around infant formula composition, labelling and advertising earmarked for 2013. Submissions close next month.

- Herald on Sunday

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