Ministry to investigate soya milk formula fears

Charles Arthur
Sunday 18 June 1995 23:02 BST
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CHARLES ARTHUR

Technology Correspondent

Fears that soya milk extract may be giving babies as many female hormones as contraceptive pills are to be investigated.

The move by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food follows research published in New Zealand, which suggests that powdered baby milks made from the extract lead to raised levels of compounds known as phytoestrogens, which mimic female hormones known as oestrogens. Growing levels of environmental pollutants, which include phytoestrogens, could have led to declining sperm counts and raised infertility among men. Phytoestrogens are found in soya formulas.

Research suggests that the amounts of powdered milks recommended by manufacturers could be the equivalent, weight for weight, of feeding an infant more than three contraceptive pills each day.

The ministry has pledged to commission research on the effects of soya milk on infants "within the next couple of months" - three years after the Department of Health's food toxicity committee recommended a study of this topic.

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