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Food banks and infant formula: who knows best?

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 16 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4449
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

Doctors and campaigners have criticised a charity’s call to allow food banks to give out infant formula. Jacqui Wise investigates

Feed, a Scotland-based charity set up by a group of mums, has been campaigning for a change to guidance issued by Unicef UK, which recommends that food banks should not distribute infant formula.1

Feed’s campaign was reported in the Sunday Times under the headline, “Food banks’ ban on formula leaves babies to go hungry.” The article said that the guidance was causing food banks to refuse donations and mothers to water down formula or give young infants unsuitable porridge or cow’s milk.2

However, Unicef said that the Sunday Times article contained inaccuracies and that its guidance was being interpreted wrongly.

Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative, in partnership with the charity First Steps Nutrition and the National Infant Feeding Network, updated its guidance for local authorities in May 2020 after concerns that some families may be unable to afford infant formula …

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