Channel 4 Dispatches

The Great Formula Milk Scandal

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18 March 2019

On Channel 4 Dispatches on Monday 18 March, new mum Kate Quilton asked if formula milk is being priced fairly, and whether claims made for it are unbiased and scientifically accurate.

The programme showed the impact that the cost of formula milk is having on family budgets. In a time where the cost of living has increased, but the wages in people’s pockets have not kept pace, some families are having to make difficult choices in order to feed their children. Dispatches also demonstrated how we need to make sure babies and parents are protected from commercial interests and misleading marketing practices.

The programme explored how powerful multi-national companies have been pushing the boundaries of existing legislation to promote their products. It highlighted the importance of strengthening legislation to better protect families from harmful commerical interests and instead promote evidence based information about infant feeding. This fits in with our Call to Action campaign, which urges UK governments to fully implement the International Code of Marketing of Breasmtilk Substitutes (the Code) into UK law. It also explored potential conflicts of interest within health services.

The programme ended with a quote from programme director Sue Ashmore, “We need to make sure babies and parents are protected from commercial interests and misleading marketing practices. Dispatches has highlighted how powerful multi-national companies have been pushing the boundaries of existing legislation to promote their products. We urgently need better legislation to protect babies.”

The episode follows last year’s Dispatches: Breastfeeding Uncovered, in which Kate Quilton looked into breastfeeding in the UK and considered why the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.