Ross McMahon, boss of Kendal Nutricare, the parent company of Kendamil, made the call while speaking to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood.
This is not the first time that McMahon has spoken out about the issues surrounding infant formula. In July this year, he said there was a “conspiracy of silence” preventing open debate around the ‘breast is best’ advice for mothers
He called on MPs to support a complete ban on palm oil combined with skimmed milk in infant formula products. He also asked for better traceability of all ingredients and for the country of manufacture to be clearly stated. A ban on hospitals handing out ready-to-feed bottles and better enforcement of UK regulations that prohibit idealising text and images on infant formula labels were also calls made by McMahon.
“Breast milk is best for babies, the evidence for that is overwhelming,” said McMahon.
“Yet we cannot ignore the fact that 98% of mothers will use infant formula at some point. What a parent feeds their child in the first few months of life is extremely important. So why doesn’t infant formula attract the highest level of scrutiny? How can parents make informed decisions when there is little transparency and no debate?”
He argued for improved traceability within the market.
“The McDonald’s website gives me more information about the ingredients used in their burgers than many infant formulas provide on their labels,” he said.
“Surely that can’t be right. Additionally, parents need to know that cheap vegetable oils or palm oils combined with skimmed milk are not a healthy alternative to mammal milk fats. I also question the need for expensive ‘comfort’ and ‘hungry’ infant formulas.”
McMahon also asked MPs to support manufacturers using British milk. Currently, the UK market is dominated by imported infant formulas, none of which uses British whole milk.