Consumer advocacy group As You Sow has been putting pressure on Abbott Laboratories for nearly three years to push for a non-GMO version of Similac Advance. Lindsy Delco, an Abbott Laboratories spokesperson, claims that “our decision had really nothing to do with that,” and “we still believe products that use GMOs are safe.” The shareholder proposal by As You Sow is supported by $2.7 billion shares, representing 6.7% of shareholders.
“Shareholders are increasingly concerned about GMOs in Similac infant formula,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow. “They know that genetically modified crops are threatening America’s health and its food security. Abbott has yet to address this concern in any meaningful way.” (source)
90-93% of Americans support GMO labelling and 39% of consumers avoid or reduce buying GMOs, so it’s safe to assume Abbott made the decision to remove GMOs from their product to maintain sales, or even raise them. Aside from Similac Organic, all Similac infant formula products contain GMOs.
Not Every One Is “Buying” It
People who believe that there is no evidence that GMOs are harmful to our bodies and the environment believe “it is purely a marketing gimmick designed to generate higher revenue.” (Layla Katiraee) Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’s working paper on Public Perceptions of Labelling Genetically Modified Foods claim that 82% of Americans say they sometimes, frequently, or always read food labels and, depending on how you pose the question, (“What information would you like to see on food labels that is not already on there?”) “Only 7% of respondents raised GM food labelling on their own” and “6% said they wanted more information about where the food product was grown or processed.” So do Americans really know what they are asking to be labelled?
The Safe and Accurate Food Labelling Act, also known as Monsanto’s Dream Bill, Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act, or DARK act, drafted by Republic congressman Mike Pompeo from Kansas, is “aimed at overriding bills in roughly two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labelled as such.” Basically the bill will not allow any labelling of foods used with the help of bioengineering. How does this relate to Abbott? The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) wholeheartedly supports this bill and with ties to Abbott Nutrition and Abbott Laboratories, this raises some concerns as to whether or not they genuinely care about the well-being of their consumers, especially considering that the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) was recently dubbed by the World Health Organization as a probable carcinogen.
At this time the only verification for non-GMO labelling is the Non-GMO project, which mirrors the standards used in the E.U. and require all ingredients, including GMO soybean oil, to be labelled. Soy oil is number 5 on the ingredient list for Similac Sensitive.
What Are The Best Options For Mothers?
Breastfeeding your baby seems like a no-brainer for optimum health, as breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illnesses and has many benefits for mothers as well, like the release of oxytocin while nursing. But what about women who cannot breast feed or choose not to? Going organic is your best bet in making sure your child is getting quality foods.
Organic baby formula should not carry the following:
- Processed Refined Sugars (Corn Syrup Solids Maltodextrin, Brown Rice Syrup with detectable levels of arsenic)
- Palm Oil
- DHA and ARA extracted with hexane
- Synthetic Preservatives (Ascorbyl Palmitate and Beta-Carotene)
- Synthetic Nutrients (Lutein, Lycopene, Nucleotides, Taurine, L-Carnitine, L-Methionine)
Making your own baby formula is also an option. Here is a video from Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist, on how she makes her own baby formula.
What are your thoughts about Abbott switching to a non-GMO version of Similac Advance? What alternatives have you found for your child if you’re not breastfeeding?
For related CE articles with links to scientific publications in them and more, please click HERE.
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