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.
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,

Cathy Stadler

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

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.

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.

“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.”

*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

Update: 6/20/2013

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.

Link | This entry was posted in GMO, Infant Care and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to My search for a non GMO infant formula

  1. shazz says:

    Thanks very much for this. I’m a mom-to-be arming myself with information so I can make the best choices for my child.

    • kran says:

      i just wanted everyone to know that babys own organic formula can be used for any infant of any age or size… it is just that the company babys own believes that the first twelve months should be breastfeeding no formula… but if u cant breastfeed then this formula is aok… my daughter has done part formula and part breastmilk from 5 months to 15 months…as well the egg thing.. unless someone in ur family has had an egg allergy … then there really isnt much concern to feed a formula that derives some of its additives from eggs… the company just doesnt want to b liable and so therefore doesnt take risk and informed u of their suggestion…but the three paediatricians i have worked with all agree that if u dont have a family history of egg allergies then children should b aok with it…

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Cathy,
    Thank you for sharing all your research on this topic and being so diligent. I lead a campaign called GMO Inside – to pressure corporations to remove GMOs – and next month we’ll be focusing on infant formula. I would love if we could share your experience with our supporters. I hope to be in touch soon!


    • cathystadler says:

      Of course! That would be wonderful. I’ve gotten a ton of great information from your website, and I look forward to reading your reports on infant formula. It’s so important to get the word out. I don’t think many people even read my blog, so I’m so thankful that you’re bringing attention to this. Just to get one mom to realize that conventional formula could be bad for their baby is a success. My son Aiden did not start thriving or sleeping through the night until he was a year old. I found out about GMOs when he was around 13 months old. It’s horrifying when you realize that it could be the food, the formula, that is harming your baby and I wish I had known sooner. I would’ve looked for other options. I have also read some startling posts about soy infant formula on… worth a read and looking into.

      Also, I have to apologize, I moved this blog to I think there still may be some references to this one, but I don’t update this one anymore. I would be honored to have you share what I was able to find in my search for infant formula. Thank you for your interest!

    • Laura says:

      Holle is the best, closest to natural milk formula I’ve tried. No chalky, artificial smell, great formulation. All other major brand formulas we tried literally smelled like rotten eggs, or extremely chalky. I cringed at the smells. I had the hardest time giving those disgusting smelling formulas to my new born. But until I found Holle I had no choice. We found it on:

  3. Brian says:

    Did you ever get a response from Martek?

  4. Ashley says:

    thank you so much for this. i gave both of my children nestle good start ( i tried breastfeeding, but was told by my doc to supplement due to loss/lack of weight gain) Now pregnant with my third, im becomming more aware of gmo’s. I never would have thought to look for them in formula. I live in canada. some of the brands you mentioned i have never heard of. i am desperatly hoping i will be able to find a suitable option for my baby. only 6 weeks left until my due date. im on the hunt. thank you once again!

    • cathystadler says:

      Hi Ashley!
      It seems like there is no perfect formula out there, but I think the best option is an organic one. It’s a little more expensive, but so worth it! Also, check out and for more information about infant formula. There are some great resources out there. Good luck with your newest addition!


    • Lisa says:

      Ashley, Don’t give up on breastfeeding. Try again with your next little one! There are many resources available to you, good luck 🙂

  5. Paul says:

    Thank you for sharing your research.

  6. Tamara says:

    There are many resources available to help you reach your breastfeeding goals- whether it be to breastfeed for the first six months or longer.
    You can look for a local midwife in your area who will proactively work with you throughout your pregnancy, and afterwards to help you to have a positive breastfeeding experience.
    There are many experienced birth and postpartum doulas- like myself- who are passionate breastfeeding advocates and will support you at home after your baby is born.
    There are also wonderful local Public Health Nurses who have a wealth of knowledge, and will do home visits.
    You can also look up your local La Leche League for peer to peer support in your breastfeeding goals. The LLL is run by volunteers who are moms just like you!
    Good luck with your goals, no matter how you choose to feed your baby. It is nice to see so many engaged and thoughtful people sharing information here.

  7. Teri says:

    Holle is no longer available on Amazon. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Tiffany Garcia says:

    Hi, your blog and info is great. I tried the link for baby formula and its no longer valid, can you tells the name of the formula so I can get to buy the one from holland and research it a bit more? Thank you.

    • cathystadler says:

      Hi there! I just updated my blog with a few links. You can google, “Buy Holle Infant formula”, and should get a bunch of sites. You can try purchasing from those sites, but some may not allow it or hold up the shipping. Just keep trying. I have bought products from Australia without issues. I think the FDA is trying to stop us from purchasing formula from overseas, possibly due to regulations or testing, but you might be able to find a site that you can buy from.

      Good luck and thank you for the compliment! I have more posts on if you’d like to read more of my posts.

  9. Emilia. says:

    What about Nature’s Baby Formula?

  10. Stephney says:

    Do you have a fb page that has this exact info on it that I can like and share?

  11. Ruth Nguyen says:

    Thank you so much I have found your info extremely helpful. I am a mom of twins and due to health issues I can no longer breastfeed (but hey we made it to 7.5 months) I did find hello on eBay.

  12. Lacey says:

    I have a few extra boxes of Holle stage 1. Email me at if you are interested!

  13. Lacey A says:

    I now have stage 1-3 in stock and ready to ship. Email me at if you’d like any!

  14. Selena says:

    So, your saying there isn’t any possible no gmo formula on the market ? I have a 1 month old and I have been breastfeed I haven’t used formula and don’t plan on using it but, now im afraid if My breast milk decreases what formula would I use ? Which is the non gmo formula ! None gmo in it at all ? maybe I would have to go over seas to get formula omg this crazy!

  15. Pingback: Grounded Parents | Get Real Recipes: Teething Cookies

  16. gina says:

    Thanks solo much!! THIS CONFIRMS all the information I collected as I spoke with product dev for Enfamil, Baby’s Only and Earth’s Best. Apparently ALL formula companies use the hexane process ( which is under FDA review & being researched NOW) with the exception of Baby’s Only but Baby’s Only is not a solution for a new born with it being difficult to digest.

  17. Drew says:

    Nativa Organics Baby formula as well as Parent’s Choice organic both claim to use non-GMO products in their formulas. One is available at Walmart (PC) and Nativa is available exclusively at Shopper’s Drug Mart here in Canada. I have yet to do conclusive research to find out if they are, in fact, non-GMO, but hope to find some answers soon! In the mean time I am hopeful that Holle products can be shipped to Canada.

  18. Ollie says:

    We got our Holle Formula from, they are based in Australia, but they offer discount on bulk buy, got $50 off for the courier option (2-4 days) to NY

  19. kmerdal says:

    What about Parent`s Choice brand??

  20. Hello from Nature’s One, the creator of Baby’s Only Organic®. Thank you for the review of our product. At Nature’s One we believe in providing healthy organic products and continue to ensure our products are free of environmental, and potentially unsafe, toxins. Our products have been Non-GMO from the beginning!
    Nature’s One supports breastfeeding as the most natural and nutritious way to feed your baby, therefore we label our formula as a “toddler” formula. We understand that at times a mom is not able to breastfeed and have designed our formula to be used with infants, although we strongly encourage you to consult with your doctor prior to using Baby’s Only Organic®. We have nutrition charts and comparisons available on our website for all of our products which may be helpful when speaking with your pediatrician.
    I just want to clear up some information noted above about eggs: the Academy of Pediatrics has revised its position on eggs and they can be given to an infant when the child is old enough to be consuming solid foods. The DHA in our Baby’s Only Organic® DHA and ARA Fatty Acid Supplement is sourced from the fats in egg yolk…not proteins but fats…so the risk of an allergic reaction is low.

  21. Diana says:

    I just stopped breastfeeding my second at 8 months. He just refuses and my supply has dwindled down to nothing. We use Hipp Organic formula from Germany because I had a hard time finding Holle online. Any input on Hipp?

  22. Renee says:

    That is good but it does contain Palm oil but of all the formulas it is the least harmful it seems

  23. Kissys says:

    How do you make Holle or Hipp formula? The instructions are boil water let it stand 30 min and make formula. My baby won’t wait 30 min. Also Do you sterilize the bottles?.
    I’m in the USA and I’m interested to know how do other moms make their formula with this particular brands

    • kmerdal says:

      we use bottled water and just heat it up for a minute.. “i guess that boil and wait” instructions are for tap water and i would never consider feeding tap water to an infant.

    • dewey says:

      We’ve followed the instructions boiling reverse-osmosis filtered tap water to prevent fluorosis, I don’t wait 30 minutes, more usually 10-15 minutes when it’s cool enough to handle but still hot enough to effectively dissolve and sterilize powdered formula, I use glass bottles cleaned in warm soapy water and placed in a Milton cold water sterilizer for 15 minutes.

  24. Jeremy says:

    Great article! We have been using Holle since our little girl was just over a month old. It is really all she likes and the ingredients are very pure and simple! It is available on the site and they have been reliable for us. They were out so we ordered some from on the 30th December and it was ONLY NOW (Jan 10) booked to be shipped. Not sure what happened and it’s been hard to contact them, but just be a little wary when using

    Keep up the pressure for correct and accurate labeling!

  25. Hi,
    I have been looking for a vegetarian , non GMO source of DHA, although it’s for someone at the other end of the lifecycle..i.e. myself.

    I googled “Life’s DHA GMO” and the top thing I got was a page from DEVA products. It’s a letter that they got from DSM i.e. Martek which addresses the GMO and organic concerns about Life’s DHA.

    If you read it , you’ll see that it does address many of the concerns that one reads on the internet.

    This is not a letter I received from DSM, but a post on the DEVA site ,of a letter that DEVA says they received from DSM. I have also emailed Life’s DHA (DSM, Martek) recently because I would feel more secure getting the info directly from them.

  26. Chantel Reilly says:

    Thank you for the info!

  27. Joe User says:

    Big waste of effort. GMOs are the result of using genetic engineering as a breeding technique. There’s been no credible scientific evidence that GMOs are any less healthy, less safe than non-GMOs. All the major scientific bodies (American Association for the Advancement of Science, World Health Organization, American Medical Association, British Royal Society, EU’s European Commission) echo this view. GMOs undergo far more testing than their non-GMO counterpart. This includes EPA, USDA and FDA testing, none of which are required for non-GMOs.

    My daughters as an infant were raised on a combination breast milk and Similac. As toddlers they are perfectly healthy.

    Looking at Similac, the only possible GMO ingredient is soy oil. There are no GMO whey, safflower and coconut available on the market. Buy the time oil (triglyceride) is extracted from soy, there is no DNA remaining. GMO soy oil is indistinguishable from non-GMO soy soil. It literally makes no difference to the end product.

    Skip the non-GMO hype and use the money saved for their college education.

  28. Brianne says:

    Hi. I am wondering what you think about the Honest Company organic baby formula?

  29. Alicia says:

    I buy my organic baby formula from It does not contain any DHA but they do offer a medicine sized bottle of DHA drops. I have not looked into where they get their DHA from but maybe it’s something you would be interested in.

  30. alan says:

    you may buy holle products from a company in california called

  31. Fabie says:

    I m happy I found this blog, my baby is 7 months. I was breastfeeding him until I had mastitis as a result I had to transition to formula. ever since he is been congested went to the doctor with him, doctor prescribe albuterol to clear up his chest. after a couple days congestion is back. its so annoying to hear the congestion on his chest. now doing some research found out the formula I m giving him has mucus forming ( Enfamil gentle ease) any suggestion!

    • cathystadler says:

      Hi there! I’m glad you found my post and did some research on the formula. I would just stay away from any non-organic brands and see how he does. Hopefully he will get better without any more medication. My older son was always sick and had taken so much medicine up until 5 years of age. That was when I realized that the everyday products we were buying could be the cause. I’m sorry to say that it took me five years to realize it. Your son could be dealing with the same thing and I don’t believe that medication is the answer.

      I wish that our society was more responsible in informing mothers about the ingredients in our baby’s formula. There should never be a product specifically meant for an infant that is harmful, period. That should be a crime. And the least the government can do is require labeling that some of the ingredients found in their formulas have not been tested for long term health effects. It’s just awful that we are not protected and instead they glamorize their products in the labeling.
      I hope your son gets better soon.

  32. I would love to know your reviews on the honest company formula as well!

  33. Cynthia says:

    Hi, I am a mommy of three and currently have a four month baby girl. I noticed on various sites on facebook about the gjmos and that is how I became aware that they are in the baby formulas. Now that I have read your page I realize that’s why my son was always sick with cold and allergy like symptoms and having some problems. Thank God he is more healthy than sick but wish he didn’t get sick as often as he does. So after I read your article/blog I tried to do some research of my own and saw that similac came out with a non-gmo formula that was to hit shelves this August. I am just learning about all this GMO stuff and why its bad for you but could you please see if it really is “GMO” free as they claim? I think there are a few others out there that are going non- GMO as well. Thank you so much in advance!

  34. Pingback: Genetically Engineered Food…Why & How To Be More Aware of What You’re Consuming! |

  35. It might not be enough to merely find that the added ingredients were non-GMO. All milk products come from animals, if the animals were fed GMOs then that trans-gene potentially will be incorporated into the milk/formula. If you are truly looking for a pure NON-GMO, Organic formula, produced from nonGMO Fed animals and non-modified Algae Provide your contact information to, or

  36. Louise says:

    If you are looking to get your formula quick and at a great price, I recommended . They also sell Hipp & Lebenswert. As well as cereals, teas and biscuits. They are the original Holle sellers in the USA. You receive your products within 1 to 3 days and amazing customer service.

  37. Maria87 says:

    I can recommend . They sell great products from Germany and the customer service is really good too. We buy the Holle formula from this shop for many months now and are very satisfied.

  38. Amanda says:

    My milk supply is going down and I am probably going to start my first baby girl on formula within a month 😦 I read your article and I am reading good stuff about 2 other brands Vermont organics and Hipp. HAve you ever researched on these 2 brands? How about Honest brand? They sell the DHA separately and I was wondering if that is because they are using the GMO source for this…. I would love to get your opinion in these 3 brands! Thank you so much!

  39. You can order Holle Stage 1 or Holle Stage 2 on our site
    We are located in the U.S. and offer fast priority shipping.

  40. Ashley says:

    I am also wondering about the honest company. I am due in August. and I will be pumping/breastfeeding, but if this new little love is anything like my last one, he would not latch on. I did use some formula as a substitute at 4 months of age but it was a crappy brand before I knew anything about GMOs and organic etc. If you could let us know what you find out about The Honest Company that would be awesome!

  41. Ana says:

    Hi would you buy holle lebenstwer on ebay? I got 3 boxes. But afraid to use them im not sure of the authencity ? Dud someone ever order formula on ebay?

  42. limited time only.
    15 or more boxes of Lebenswert as low as $20 a box. Free 2-3 priority shipping nationwide.
    Reg price $25 with free shipping.

  43. Luke Benoit says:

    It seems that most US Formulas, even when they are labeled organic aren’t organic. After carefully reading about all available formulas we have decided to go with Lebenswert formula for our baby boy. It is a bit cheaper then Hipp and Holle but what I have found the best. Everybody is hipp or holle but nobody ever talks about Bioland Lebenswert (although it recently got bought up by holle).
    Who agrees with me here? If you never heard about it – check it out and let me know what you think please. Here is where i have ordered:
    By the way – they offer 10% on subscriptions.

    Seriously lets spread the word about Lebenswert here.

  44. Purely Loved Organics says:

    We offer Holle Stage 1,2, 3 and Goat Milk Stage 2 and the whole line of Lebenswert here in the US- located in WA. FREE SHIPPING on orders $125+! Visit us anytime at, 🙂

  45. Peter says:

    The largest seller of German baby formula in America. has everything you are looking for. From Holle, Lebenswert, and Hipp from many regions. We ship by sea and avoid all x-rays and irradiation so you know your baby is getting the safest formula. Conducting 100’s of transactions a day we have the freshest batches of formula straight form the distributors. Formula is stored in a 10,000 sq ft FDA approved facility. The only choice for your organic baby formula needs is Come and try us today and use coupon code “search” for 5% off your order today!

  46. Jennifer.M says:

    Best I ever did for my daughter was buy the Holle organic formula. She was first on Enfamil an then we switched to Holle after 6 weeks.She adjusted well and got over the constipation issues.
    I buy it at and can really recommend this shop. Fast shipping and best prices;)

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you so much for the recommendation. I have placed my order there and now waiting for the parcel;) Everything seems fine so far and the customer service is very friendly and helpful.

    • Sheng Li says:

      Yes, I am also very satisfied with
      Laura, the customer service manager is so friendly and helpful. My son is doing very well on the Lebenswert formula. All American made formulas contain soy, and I did not want to feed my son that.

    • Maya says:

      We have been using the Holle organic to combination feed since our son was 8 weeks old and he is doing much better than on Similac we used before. We also buy it from and have made very good experiences too, The order was shipped out very fastly and arrived within 1 week.

  47. Connie says:

    I am also very happy with this shop. Its a legit company that gives great discounts on organic baby formula. Nice packaging and nice price! Shipping is faster than stated on the website.

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