My search for a non GMO infant formula
I recently discovered that the formula I fed my son for 12+ months contains genetically modified corn and soy. Moms should know that there are GMOs* in nearly all infant formula being sold in stores. A mom should be able to decide for herself if that’s what she wants to feed her baby. If she decides that is not the kind of formula she wants, the alternative is to choose organic. You can buy an organic brand to eliminate almost all GMOs in the formula, but you won’t be able to completely avoid them and find a truly organic formula.
While there are many organic formulas on the market, there is only one currently being sold in the United States that does not contain GMOs in some form. Organic formulas have hexane-extracted algal DHA and fungal ARA oils. The algae used to extract the additives is GMO algae. The manufacturer that provides the DHA and ARA is Martek, the product, life’s DHA. Please take some time to read the white paper created by the Cornucopia Institute on this matter. It explains how the additive was given the organic seal of approval in great detail, beginning on page 19. This additive is not only found in organic formula but many other products labeled organic as well. A full list of products can be found on their website.
Below is a list of infant formulas containing life’s DHA which is both genetically modified and typically manufactured using a known toxin:
Earth’s Best Organic Soy with DHA & ARA (Hain Celestial Group)
Enfamil LIPIL (Mead Johnson Nutritionals)
Enfamil Next Step (Mead Johnson)
Isomil 2 Advance (Abbott Laboratories)
Nestle Good Start Supreme with DHA & ARA (Nestle USA)
Parent’s Choice Organic (Wal-Mart)
Similac Advance (Abbott Nutrition)
Ultra Bright Beginnings Lipids (PBM Products, LLC)
Searching for an alternative
In my search to find a good organic alternative, I chose Earths Best because it is a company listed on the NonGMO project website. But I noticed that their formula wasn’t listed as a non GMO verified product and that it does contain DHA/ARA.
So I emailed Earths Best to find out if the formula is completely organic and if they do use any GMOs. I got this response:
Dear Ms. Stadler,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Earth’s Best® Products. We strive to maintain the highest quality products and your satisfaction is very important to us.
All Earth’s Best® organic products are produced without the use of GMOs (genetically modified organism) in accordance with the USDA’s National Organic Program. All ingredients used in our organic products do not contain GMOs. We use the only forms of DHA and ARA approved for use in infant formula which are produced from all natural, vegetarian, and non-GMO sources.
Thank you for your continued support. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-434-4246, Monday through Friday from 7AM – 5PM Mountain Time.
Sincerely, Mouhamed Consumer Relations Representative
They state that the only forms of DHA/ARA are produced from non-GMO sources, but Martek’s site lists their formula on their product lists. That was confusing to me, so I called Earths Best customer service to speak with a real person. The customer service rep said that their formula is completely non GMO.
I asked him specifically if the DHA/ARA additives are manufactured by Martek. He put me on hold for a few minutes. He came back and told me that the DHA supplement used in the formula is made by Martek but without GMO. So I asked him, are there two versions of Martek’s DHA/ARA additives, one with GMO and one without? He said they could not verify their product as non-GMO if they used anything with GMO. Okay well, the Earths Best formula is not officially verified by the non-GMO project.
He said I would have to contact Martek and ask them, so that’s what I did. I wrote an email to Martek asking them to please confirm they do, in fact, have 2 types of DHA/ARA additives.
Email to Martek Customer Service (sent 10/22/2012)
I have a question about the DHA/ARA additives that you provide to Earth’s Best Infant Formula. I called and asked them if the DHA/ARA additives are made with genetically modified organisms and they said no, many times. But in all the research I’ve been doing, I see that you derive the DHA additive using hexane and GMO algae. The customer relations person I spoke with at Earth’s Best said they get a “Non-GMO version” of your additive for their formula. Can you please verify to me that you do, in fact, manufacture a non-GMO, non-toxic DHA additive for infant formula? I’m desperately trying to figure out how to feed our little ones a pure formula when breastfeeding is not a possibility.
Thank you for your time,
No response yet.
What to use then?
Baby’s Only brand by Nature’s One doesn’t seem to have any ingredients that are chemically or genetically modified but unfortunately, it is not recommended for babies under 12 months because the DHA and ARA in their formula are water-extracted from organic egg yolks. And infants should not be exposed to egg until 12 months of age. This formula does not contain Martek’s hexane-extracted algal DHA and fungal ARA oils.
You can also purchase a German formula Holle from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Holle-Organic-formula-months-ounces/dp/B008O405EK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=ARR6DI5T26XXC&qid=1350578297&s=generic&sr=1-1
Another solution, find a local milk bank to purchase other mothers’ breast milk.
At the very least, choose organic over regular. I didn’t see one from Enfamil, but there is a Similac Organic if you purchase these at Costco or another big box store.
Moms should know the formula they give their baby is not what it seems to be.
I paid a lot of money for formula thinking that it was the best, having no idea that while the list of ingredients says one thing, what’s really inside is a genetically modified creation of that ingredient. I assumed that it was fine, that it came from all natural ingredients. I was wrong and had no idea. The companies who make our baby formula do not have the decency to tell us what we are really buying.
There are moms out there that struggle with babies that can’t digest their formula. They try one formula after the other, and still see the obvious pain on their infant’s face. It would be nice to know that the GMOs in that formula could be causing the gastrointestinal distress. These are little babies with little tummies.
For more information and what you can do to help
Share this information with all the other moms that you know that use formula.
Check out some of these links to educate yourself about the Genetically Modified Organisms that have been in our food supply since 1996.
http://www.naturalnews.com/034364_infant_formula_DHA_genetically_modified.html http://cornucopia.org/DHA/DHA_Executive_Summary_web.pdf http://www.cornucopia.org/2012/02/spinning-suspect-ingredients-in-baby-formula/?gclid=CLzT4uzrg7MCFQfonAoduFQAhg http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L6G2i80MG50
And if you don’t have time, just read some of these quotes…
“Unlike more than 60 other countries—including the European Union member states, Japan, Brazil, Russia and China—the U.S. has no law requiring labeling of GE foods. As a consequence, U.S. consumers are unknowingly purchasing and consuming GE foods every day, despite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does no independent testing for their safety. http://truefoodnow.org/
“Consumers assume when they purchase organic products that they are supporting a higher environmental ethic. The use of hexane as a processing agent in organic food production is a betrayal to these ideals.” http://cornucopia.org/DHA/DHA_QuestionsAnswers.pdf
*GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are plants or animals created by merging the DNA from different species. They were developed to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Nearly all infant formulas use milk from cows injected with growth hormone and derivates of GM corn. The FDA doesn’t require safety studies on GM food. To read more about this, go to http://responsibletechnology.org/faqs.
People have reached out to me asking where to buy the Holle Infant formula and it seems you can’t purchase it on Amazon anymore. I was able to add it to a shopping cart on this site here: BioLogisch. I also found these sites: Little Organics and Bioliving. Shipping might be delayed so be sure to purchase enough to last.
I found a review for Holle formula on this blog, which has some other great information and insight: BadPwny. And found this article from Natural News about the use of genetically modified organisms in the DHA additive contained in infant formulas (even the organic ones).
I think it’s shocking that right here in the US there is no infant formula that does not contain some form of genetically modified organisms. We should all be aware of this fact and also have other options or alternatives. Are those options only overseas, where they actually protect their citizens from potentially dangerous chemicals in their food supply?
I reached out to Earth’s Best and Martek once again asking to clarify that the DHA additive is not a genetically modified ingredient and still no response.