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Letters Response

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition replies to Mary Fewtrell and colleagues

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 15 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d980
  1. Anthony F Williams, chair, SACN Subgroup on Maternal and Child Nutrition (SMCN)1,
  2. Ann Prentice, chair1
  1. 1Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), SACN Secretariat, Department of Health, London SE1 8UG
  1. sacn{at}

Fewtrell and colleagues selectively reviewed evidence on the appropriate age at which to introduce complementary food into the diet of breastfed infants.1 We comment on several of their statements about the role of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) in advising UK governments on this issue. SACN is a committee of independent experts appointed under Nolan principles to advise these governments.

It is incorrect that SACN “was not asked to formally consider the scientific evidence” supporting the World Health Organization’s revised recommendations on breast feeding in 2001. The issue was initially considered in 2000 at a meeting chaired by the inaugural chair of SACN. It concluded: “There is sufficient scientific evidence that exclusive breast feeding for six months is nutritionally adequate.” SACN endorsed …

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