Monday, November 27, 2023

‘Hazardous’ formula milk being sold in country, Senate told

"Pakistan spends $34 million on baby formula imports," says caretaker information minister

A representational image of an infant drinking baby formula. — Unsplash/File
A representational image of an infant drinking baby formula. — Unsplash/File

  • Baby formula used by mothers as an alternate to breastfeeding.
  • Senators voice concerns over "hazardous" formula being sold.
  • Country spends $34 million on import of "formula milk": minister.

ISLAMABAD: In a rather alarming development, it has been revealed that formula milk, also known as baby formula for infants, being sold in the country is “hazardous”.

According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), formula milk — sometimes referred to as baby formula or infant formula — is typically made by treating cow's milk to make it more suited for use with young children.

The formula is available in liquid and dry forms and provides infants with the nutrients they require for healthy growth and development from formula milk. It does not, however, provide the same health advantages as breastfeeding for both you and your child.

The revelation was made by Senator Samina Mumtaz Zehri during a discussion in the upper house of the parliament regarding the quality and safety of formula milk in Pakistan who brought the house’s attention to the fact that health professionals are involved in the marketing, and promotion of formula milk.

Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senators Barrister Ali Zafar and Mehr Taj Roghani also echoed Samina's concerns with the latter stressing that the formula milk is “unsafe”.

Expressing his views, Senator Zafar highlighted that the physical development of girls has been affected over the years.

He further stressed that medical practitioners lack the authority to market such products

Speaking on the occasion, caretaker Minister Murtaza Solangi apprised the senators that Pakistan produces a very low quantity of formula milk and that the country spends $34 million on its imports.

“It is not possible to impose a ban on formula milk,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Zarqa Suharwardy lamented the prevailing practice of recommending Cesarean section commonly known as “C-Section” by doctors saying that it affects breastfeeding.

She also reiterated her commitment to table relevant legislation regarding breastfeeding laws in the country.