Move to curb soy formula milk sales
James Meikle, health correspondent
Saturday February 8, 2003
"The safety of soya-based infant formula milk has been called into question by the government's scientific advisers, in a move that could result in it being available only on prescription.
They fear children's sexual development and fertility as adults might be affected if they take the products during their first few months of life.
Parents of about one in 50 babies who are not breast fed give their offspring the soy formula, and removing it from general sale would leave vegan mothers and others who wish to avoid cow's milk with no alternative.
The advisers say there is "clear evidence" of potential risk from using the products and no evidence that the products confer any health benefit. There is no medical need for it either, they say, since other therapies could be prescribed for infants allergic to cow's milk protein.
Members of the scientific advisory committee on nutrition believe studies suggesting harmful effects on the sexual development of marmosets, and "extreme discomfort" in menstruation for women who had been fed soy formula years before, are cause for "significant concern".
The use of the soy formula is already officially discouraged by the government, and breast milk is regarded as giving far better nourishment than formula milk. But the latest warnings about safety go much further than previous ones...."