On 21 May 2016, Lancet published an Editorial – “No ifs, no buts, no follow-on milk”. International Special Dietary Food Industries (ISDI) would like to clarify that the comparison of ‘formula milk’ to tobacco is irresponsible and could inadvertently cause unnecessary worry and stress to mothers who cannot, or have chosen not to, breastfeed their children.

‘Formula milks’ are specifically designed and manufactured according to international food standards – Codex Alimentarius. As such, they meet high standards of safety and quality. Both infant formula and follow-up formula are developed to meet the nutritional needs and support the growth and development of infants and young children up to 36 months. Moreover, for infants who are not breastfed, infant formula is the only safe, scientifically developed and nutritious breast milk substitute as recognised and recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and national health authorities.

Mothers deserve access to factual information about all appropriate feeding options, in consultation with healthcare professionals. This enables them to make informed choices to support optimal infant and young child nutrition.

The Lancet is a recognised source of science based information, yet the comparison of ‘formula milk’ to tobacco is neither factual nor science-based.