Water and milk ‘only drinks recommended for young children’

A report from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) which underlines the importance of dairy products in the diets of young children has been welcomed by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

President of the ICMSA Pat McCormack lauded the report, published yesterday, Monday, June 22, which found that children aged between one and five years-of-age should be consuming 550ml of cow’s milk or equivalent amounts of yogurt or cheese.

McCormack said that an “expert and impartial voice” had taken an in-depth examination of the nutritional value of milk for young children and found it to be necessary.

The president said that farmers and people in the wider dairy sector have had to endure a “whispering campaign” against dairy milk for some years now and both he and predecessors had on several occasions to challenge “outright quackery” on alleged nutritional defects of milk.

This report, McCormack added, should become the standard reference for all those who pronounce on the questions around childhood nutrition.

What was even more interesting, said McCormack, was the assessment of the FSAI report on the nutritional value of some nut ‘milks’ that were being “hyped as new and exciting substitutes” for dairy milk.

McCormack said these nut drinks were found to be nutritionally inadequate with even the best of them, soya milk, found to be deficient in certain nutrients and requiring calcium additives.

Water and milk were the only drinks recommended for children of this age and parents were warned against almond, coconut and rice ‘milk’ under the impression that these drinks were nutritionally adequate, the president noted.

The ICMSA also highlighted the recommendation that lean red meat should be served to children within this age group (one to five-year-olds) ideally three times per week for iron and other essential minerals in addition to the protein.