Reassurances are being sought from the Government by one of the UK’s infant feeding organisations on the future availability and affordability of baby milk post-Brexit.
Cheshire-based Sarah Norris, expert maternity consultant and co-founder of infant feeding organisation Feed, said there were growing concerns among parents and professionals alike about the impact of Brexit – whatever form this may now take – on the supply and future cost of infant formula.
Health ministers have already ordered the stockpiling of baby milk to avoid potential shortages of infant milk but Miss Norris, from High Legh near Knutsford, said prolonged uncertainty and lack of clarity over Brexit was deepening concerns over the future availability and potential rising costs of formula milk.
Around 80 per cent of infant baby milk imported into the UK comes from Europe. The Government has said it is working with suppliers and manufacturers to make sure supply continues but recent events surrounding Brexit has prompted doubts among some professionals.
Miss Norris, author of ‘The Baby Detective’, said: “Even if supplies of formula milk are not affected, there is a wider issue around the economic and logistical problems caused by Brexit.
“One of the biggest worries is that prices will be inflated and this will place extra pressure on those families who are already struggling.
“With Brexit now delayed, parents are becoming concerned as to whether the Government can now deliver on the promises made late last year.
“What we really need is some reassurance from the Government, suppliers and manufacturers that they will not only safeguard the supply of infant milk but will also ensure the price will not rise regardless of how the UK ends up exiting the EU.
“This is critical to ensuring the health of babies and vital to making sure families thrive.”
Miss Norris co-founded infant feeding charity Feed several months ago with fellow infant feeding advocates Kate Wishart, Rosie McNee, Stephanie Maia and Erin Williams.
The organisation does not promote or prioritise one method of infant feeding over another and instead provides science-based and compassionate information and advice to all families, regardless of how they feed their babies.
Previous attempts by members of the group to seek reassurance from Government ministers on the availability and affordability of infant formula in the UK following Brexit were ignored.
Feed has now written to Mr Hancock for a second time to seek reassurances on behalf of the parents it supports.
Feed also plan to lobby supermarkets producers of British baby milk to request a price freeze on infant formula products.