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  1. St Bartholomews and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry
  2. Department of General Practice and Primary Care
  3. Medical Sciences
  4. London E1 4NS

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    Editor,—Infant feeding advice to be effective needs to be simple and universal. The COMA report on weaning diet recommends the use of pasteurised full fat milk as a daily drink for children between 12 months and 2 years.1 This was easily described in the past as “silver top doorstep milk”. Shopping habits have changed over the past decade and the proportion of doorstep milk has slipped from 80% of total milk sales in 1986 to 40% in 1996 (National Dairy Council, 1997). Major supermarket chains show a bewildering lack of consistency in the description of full fat milk and colour coding for skimmed and semiskimmed varieties. This presents difficulties for several groups of consumers: those whose literacy is poor, those whose vision is poor, and those whose first language is not English. I am sure it has also been the experience of competent but hurried shoppers to find that they have made mistakes.

    I suggest that those of us involved in giving dietary advice should lobby the major food retailers to introduce uniformity of labelling and package colour. This would increase the effectiveness of health advice and potentially benefit the nutritional status of the nation’s children.