Food for Special Medical Purposes

Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs) are evidence-based nutritional solutions for the dietary management of specific disorders or disease-related medical conditions.

FSMPs are highly regulated and should be used under medical supervision across a wide range of settings such as hospitals, care homes, clinics and patients’ homes. FSMPs can partially, or entirely, replace a normal diet to provide patients with the essential nutrients they need to survive, recover and thrive.

These foods include highly specialised foods, oral nutritional supplements (ONS) or metabolic products and can be taken orally or given as tube feeds. They can be a lifeline for patients of all ages.

In the case of infants, formulas intended for Special Medical Purposes for infants are formulated as the sole source of nutrition to satisfy the special nutritional requirements of infants with specific diseases, disorders, or medical conditions during the first months of life, up to the introduction of appropriate complementary feeding. For example, highly specialised formulas have been developed for the dietary management of infants born prematurely, infants suffering from severe protein allergies, infants with disorders of fat metabolism and other acute and chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Dietary management of paediatric patients with inborn errors of metabolism is achieved with Special Medical Purposes formulas that are designed to provide a partial source of nutrition.

All of these specialty formulas are used under the specific recommendation and supervision of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional, and address the need for extra assistance in obtaining the requisite nutrition for growth and development among a highly vulnerable population of infants and young children.