Ross McMahon, CEO of Kendal Nutricare (parent company of producer Kendamil), spoke to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on October 17th calling for a ban on formulas using palm oil with skimmed milk and better traceability of ingredients and country of manufacture. He also wants a ban on hospitals handing out ready to feed bottles and better enforcement of UK regulations prohibiting idealised text and images on infant formula labels.
“What a parent feeds their child in the first few months of life is extremely important. So why doesn’t the infant formula market attract the highest level of scrutiny?” he asked. “How can parents make informed decisions when there is little transparency and no debate?”
He added: “The McDonald’s website gives me more information about the ingredients used in their burgers than many infant formulas provide on their labelling. 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’.”
This is not the first time McMahon has spoken out on these issues. In July this year, he said there was a ‘conspiracy of silence’ preventing open debate around the ‘breast is best’ advice for mothers.
Kendamil is the only British producer of infant formula, made using full cream milk fats sourced from Red Tractor accredited farms in and around the Lake District. It prides itself on not using palm oil which has been found to decrease bone mineral density.