• Channel 7's 'My Kitchen Rules' judge Pete Evans (AAP Image/Seven Network)
The release of celebrity chef Pete Evans' paleo cookbook for kids has been 'delayed' after health experts raised serious concerns about the recipes, including a DIY infant formula.
12 Mar 2015 - 10:00 AM  UPDATED 12 Mar 2015 - 8:19 PM

The cookbook titled, Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way was due for release on Friday, March 13, but publishers Pan McMillan have told SBS the book has now been delayed. 

Celebrity chef and 'My Kitchen Rules' judge Pete Evans, baby recipe blogger Charlotte Carr and naturopath Helen Padarin are the trio behind the cookbook. Mr Evans, a paleo diet advocate, has previously released Paleo Every Day and Going Paleo.  

Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, said publishing the cookbook could lead to the death of a baby.

"In my view, there's a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead," Professor Yeatman told the Australian Women’s Weekly.  

In a statement, the Department of Health said they were "closely scrutinising this diet and book". 

"The department is concerned about the inadequate nutritional values of some of the foods, in particular for infants, and is investigating further," a spokeswoman said. 

"If adults want to experiment with fad diets, then that's their prerogative, but really, we have a duty of care to protect infants."

Tamarah Katz, a paediatric dietician at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick, has also slammed the DIY baby formula, saying it was "irresponsible" and "dangerous".

She said breastmilk or breastmilk alternatives, such as commercial infant formula, are the only nutrition that a baby should receive.

"The WHO have made it very clear that it is the only suitable replacement when breastmilk is not available," she told SBS.

The DIY infant formula in the cookbook is reportedly based on a cocktail of liver and bone broth. On the advice of her naturopath, co-author Ms Carr used the recipe as an alternative to breastmilk, which can be found on her website. Ms Carr did not want to use commercial infant formula because she was worried about the ingredients, the AWW reported. 

Ms Katz said homemade infant formula is incredibly dangerous and potentially toxic.

“Young infants are at higher risk of food-borne pathogens. And if foods aren't prepared properly and in a sterile way, they're at risk of infection. And that could be serious.

"But more importantly than that, when you're dealing with anything with really high concentrations of vitamin A, like liver – and if an infant is consuming a lot of it – they could be at risk of taking in a toxic level of vitamin A which is extremely dangerous. [The formula] also doesn't have an ideal composition of all of the other vitamins and minerals.”

Ms Katz said Mr Evans’ celebrity status has given the chef credibility as an expert in food and health science, which could have serious ramifications.

"I'm concerned, given Pete Evans' position of power and influence in the Australian community, that the uptake of [the DIY] infant formula is significant. And it would only be a matter of time before there would be ill-effects from it. It concerns me quite a lot."

Mr Evans’ has previously claimed that the paleo diet could prevent autism, birth defects, behavioural disorders and digestive disorders. The paleo diet restricts certain whole food groups, including grains, legumes, dairy, refined and processed foods, mirroring the diet of our 'hunter-gatherer' ancestors. 

On Pete Evans' Facebook page, which has well over 783,000 fans, the chef features testimonials from everyday Australians who have apparently been 'cured' of illnesses thanks to the paleo diet.

As a paediatric dietician who sees parents of children with chronic diseases every day, Ms Katz said touting the paleo diet – or any fad diet – as a legitimate cure of illness can give families false hope.

"I think it gives parents of children with chronic diseases false hope. The burden on these families is already so significant, and I see them on a daily basis.

"They hear something like this and they might get false hope and they get quite depressed when yet another new, novel suggestion doesn’t give them the desired outcomes. And they feel like failures as parents."

According to the AWW, a disclaimer in the back of Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way reads: "Although we in good faith believe that the information provided will help you live a healthier life, relying on the information contained in this publication may not give you the results you desire or may cause negative health consequences.”

Ms Katz said that while adults are free to follow fad diets, it shouldn’t be prescribed to infants and toddlers as they have different nutritional needs.

"Infants are not small adults. Their requirements are very different. And they're much more susceptible to ill-health than adults are.

"If adults want to experiment with fad diets, then that's their prerogative. But really, we have a duty of care to protect infants. And until children are older and can make up their minds and make an informed decision, then we need to give them something that's tried and tested and safe.”

Pan Macmillan told SBS the cookbook has not been recalled, but did not indicate when it will be released.