New mums are to be given the chance to feed their babies goat's milk for the first time.
The Department of Health wants to bring Britain in line with advice from European food safety experts that goats' milk protein is safe for use in formula milk.
Current rules say that only cows' milk can be used for the youngest children. But some parents are keen to feed babies formula based on goats' milk because of concerns that their children are allergic to cow's milk.
The allergy is thought to be a cause of reflux and other painful stomach conditions for babies.
According to the Department of Health, cows' milk allergy is 'the most frequent allergy in the first years of life' and there is a high risk of cross-reactivity with goats' milk protein in clinical studies.
Ministers are now consulting on new regulations that would allow manufacturers to sell formula made using goats' milk.
The proposal comes after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that 'goats' milk can be suitable as a protein source for infant and follow-on formula'.
However, EFSA warned that goats' milk may be seen by parents as a suitable alternative for infants diagnosed as allergic to cow's milk but the proteins in cow and goat milk are so similar that a baby allergic to one would almost certainty be intolerant of the other.
There is 'no convincing evidence' to suggest that goats' milk leads to fewer allergic reactions, the Department of Health said. As a result, manufacturers will be banned from marketing market goats' milk-based formula milks as suitable for children with cows' milk allergies.
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