EU MEPs oppose follow-on milk claim - DHA Briefing

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For DHA Briefing see: V13.pdf

 For the latest see  press release:

On 6th Dec 2010 the EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH)  approved the following health claim for use on follow-on formulas and baby foods: ‘DHA has a structural and functional role in the retina and DHA intake contributes to the visual development of infants up to 12 months of age.’   

Congratulations and thanks to all who helped get a Resolution objecting to this claim first passed by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)  on 16th March and later by a majority of the MEPs present at the EP Plenary meeting on the 6th April. However because  nearly 60 MEPs were not present in the room we did not reach the 'absolute  majority' needed to stop the European Commission from authorising the claim.



Letter from WHO to Glenis Willmott MEP DHA.PDF

Letter from UNICEF to Glenis Willmott MEP


Press releases:

Baby milk battle looms as MEPs vote to block eyesight health claim



The Latest  briefing on DHA (Version 13) V13.pdf    Please use this to enlist the support of your local MEPs in changing the procedures for the authorisation of  claims for baby foods.

BBC Politics show:

Formula for Disaster : UNICEF Philippines  film which shows how parents are misled DHA claims and  believe formula  is better than breastfeeding:


Other papers:

1 The Commission issues a Correction. The European Commission was forced to issue a correction (a Corrigendum) to its  Aide Memoire  entitled "Claim that 'DHA contributes to the normal visual development of infants up to 12 months of age' under scrutiny by the EP and the Council." The new text which is  UNDERLINED now states: "During the period in which the public may comment on the scientific advice of EFSA, no comments were made by stakeholders/scientists contesting EFSA's conclusions or indicating a risk for infants, other than those made by the Baby Feeding Law Group.

The Commission has still not explained WHY it consistently fails to mention the clarifying letter from  the European Food Safety Authority that it had found no evidence to support the DHA claim for follow-on milks or baby foods. The letter is  on this link:

Our comments - which probably prompted the clarification are on the Commission website here:


2 US Food and Drug Administration is calling  for comments on new  research on health claims on infant formulas such as “supports brain and eye development.’’  Deadline for comments 2nd May

See Experimental Study—(OMB Control Number 0910–NEW -    Refer to Docket No. FDA–2011–N–0098) 

see also  Food Politics blog (


3  Prof Koletzko   has written to MEPs and to the media  saying " the influential breast milk lobby group, Baby Milk Action, had effectively lobbied MEPs with what he called “pseudo-scientific” arguments .....It is very surprising and disturbing that the members of the European Parliament find such a profound scientific evaluation by an independent body less convincing than the arguments of a loud-mouthed lobbying group,” 

In these papers Prof Koletzko fails to acknowledge his many links with the Baby Food industry, for example the fact that he was the lead author on a paper recommending DHA fortification sponsored by Martek, the manufacturer of synthesised DHA.

 For our response see.


4  Opinion from the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries:   "Denmark is concerned about this specific claim, that may mislead the consumer due to the high focus on omega-3 and the health of children in the Danish population. It is very important, that the consumer is not misled to believe, that follow-on formulae has a health advantage in favour of breastfeeding or infant formulae."


5  Comment from Prof Alan Lucas in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood responding to a critique by Martek (the makers of synthetic DHA)  of the 10 year follow-up on fortified formulas.

"Indeed, Birch's study, which may have been one of the most influential trials driving the addition of LCPUFA to US formulas, was based on an incomplete follow up where only 19 subjects remained in the relevant intervention group, providing inadequate power to provide any realistic estimation of the treatment effect."

6 European Parliament Resolution refusing the authorisation of DHA health claim

Agenda of ENVI meeting 7th March 2011


11 US FDA accounts of adverse reactions to synthesised DHA (updated 2011) 



In response to a request from Charlotte Vallaeys of the Cornucopia Institute the Food and Drug Administration's  states that it had received no reports of post-market surveillance and scientific studies evaluating the safety of DHA. (2009) Post market.pdf


US bans synthetic DHA ARA in organic formulas

 The US Federal Trades Commission (FTC) has investigated the use of DHA  claims and advertisements. The FTC is a law enforcement agency, rather than a regulatory agency. It investigates specific advertising campaigns and reaches conclusions regarding particular claims for particular products. It does not make regulatory determinations about ingredients or products in general. That is the province of the US Food and Drug Administration.   Here is a letter from the FTC to  Mead Johnson informing them of the resolution of the FTC inquiry into the DHA adverts after the company agreed to discontinue the challenged advertising.  The matter had been referred to the FTC  by the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureaus, the self-regulatory body.   The FTC requires advertising claims related to health to be supported by “competent and reliable scientific evidence” (CRSE).  What constitutes CRSE in any given case will depend on the type of product and type of claim, and what experts in the field would require.  In some circumstances, it might require valid, controlled clinical studies, but in general, the FTC considers the entire body of reliable and relevant evidence, when assessing whether a claim is substantiated.


FTC news release regarding warning letters  sent to marketers of children's vitamins based on the claims they were making for the Omega-3/DHA content of the vitamins. (2010)


Letter from Laurie True, Executive Director of California Women, Infants and Children Program (CALWIC) to Glenis Willmott, MEP (March 2011) to GW.doc



Link to the multilingual campaign page:



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