If you’re formula feeding, chances are you’ve already seen the myriad options available, both online and at the store.
From non-dairy options to formulas designed specifically to ease digestive issues, your choices are nearly limitless. There are also multiple consistencies, including ready-to-feed formulas and concentrated ones.
Yet, in all your dizzying research, you may not have realized another key differentiator between your formulas: the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs.
We know you want what’s best for your baby, and how you choose to feed is a personal decision. Working with your pediatrician, lactation consultant, OB-GYN and more can help you determine what’s best for your family.
If you do opt to formula-feed, choosing non-GMO formula is one key way you can help start your baby off on the right track.
Maybe you’ve heard about GMOs in the news, or on the Internet, and knew they were something to avoid. But you might not realize exactly why non-GMO formula is best for your baby.
That’s why today, we’re breaking down the benefits of this type of formula. We’ll help clarify its benefits, discuss what’s in it (and, just as importantly, what’s not), and provide some helpful tips on how to pick the right non-GMO formula for you!
Interested in learning more? Let’s dig in!
Non-GMO Formula: What Do Those Three Letters Mean?
Before we get too deep into why non-GMO formula is a choice you and your baby can feel good about, let’s go over just what GMOs are.
A GMO is an organism that has undergone some sort of genetic change to bring out a desired trait. This often occurs through gene splicing. When an organism undergoes gene splicing, its DNA is cut and a different gene (typically from another organism) is inserted into it.
One of the primary ways this process is used is to create food products that are stronger and more resistant than their natural state.
Consider the example of corn.
Genetic engineers can take genes from a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and insert it into the DNA of corn. The Bt is equipped with a protein that eliminates insects. By inserting that gene into the corn, scientists can pass that trait onto the corn. They have essentially created a crop that can make its own pesticide, saving time and money.
While applications like these appear to be at least partially beneficial, there is great controversy over their use in commercial food products, and what kind of long-term effects ingesting GMOs will create.
So how does this affect baby formula?
Many mainstream formula brands have included GMOs in their ingredients. These are primary corn and soy products that have been genetically altered.
Just how common are GMO ingredients? The statistics may surprise you.
Almost 90% of the corn grown in America is genetically modified. While lots of it ends up in processed foods found in the middle aisles of your grocery store, a great portion of it is also reserved for animal feed.
In addition, 93% of soy is modified.
As corn syrup and soy are some of the most common ingredients found in mainstream baby formula, the math is alarming.
Though the National Academy of Sciences released a report in May 2016 that genetically engineered foods were no less healthy or safe than those that contained GMOs, scientists around the world agree that more research should be conducted on the matter.
With so many options available, if there’s even a slight doubt about the safety and integrity of a baby formula, it makes simple sense to opt for the options that are clearly labeled as “non-GMO formula.”
Let’s take a look at some more reasons this decision is a sound investment in your baby’s future:
Genetic Engineering Poses Unknown Risks
As we touched on earlier, as GMOs are a relatively new phenomenon, there has been little research on their long-term implications.
Though the claim has been debunked by some pro-GMO industry outlets, there is also the concern that the process of genetic engineering is somewhat random.
Genetic engineers lack total control over where the foreign genes go when they’re inserted into the final product’s DNA. As a result, there’s no guarantee that other genes in the product’s makeup won’t be affected, and what upsetting that balance could mean.
Some groups believe that as this occurs, new and novel proteins could be created. Then, as foods are made with these ingredients, the introduction of these proteins could trigger new allergens or even toxins in the final product.
The fact that the word “toxin” is even remotely linked to “baby formula” should make the case for non-GMO formula. Yet, let’s take a look at another reason you’ll want to pick this option:
The Exact Science is Relatively New
On the surface, genetic engineering has its roots in plant breeding, a practice that dates back more than 10,000 years.
Yet, in reality, the new and radical applications that have emerged as the practice of creating GMOs gains speed and traction is actually vastly different.
Plant breeders are traditionally concerned with creating new plant species, derived by combining the genes of plants in the same or similar species. Yet, when it comes to modern GMO engineering, genes from one species can be inserted into the DNA of an entirely different species.
Scientists are researching ways to fuse vaccines into food products, insect resistance into crops (remember our corn example?) and more.
While applications like these are interesting and, in the right environment, could lead to significant scientific breakthroughs, one truth remains.
When it comes to your baby’s health, a science that’s still working out its kinks and has yet to be 100% verified as totally safe on all consumption levels, doesn’t have to be your only option. In fact, it isn’t.
Non-GMO Offers Transparency Others Lack
If you’ve been formula feeding your baby for a while and are just now learning about the negative effects of GMOs, no need to stress.
Remember, all formula made and distributed in the United States has to meet rigorous guidelines, testing processes, and nutrient counts set forth by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Selecting from the array of mainstream options is the way many moms choose to go, and these products are all verified as safe by the FDA.
However, even some mainstream brands have recently released “non-GMO formula” lines. This is primarily in response to consumer outcries and demands for non-GMO options. In fact, a recent study revealed that 70% of consumers do not want GMOs in their foods.
Rather, they’re seeking more natural, organic products free of harmful ingredients and by-products. One of the strongest voices of GMO opposition? You guessed it: mothers.
They’re calling out for healthier options for their children. They want higher nutritional content. They also want the ability to make more informed food choices for their families.
One of the roadblocks getting in their way? A lack of transparency.
Did you know that food products, including formula, are not currently required to be labeled as containing GMOs? Though there is work in Congress to change this regulation, it is not in full effect yet. As such, there’s rarely a way to determine if your food contains GMOs.
The only way to be sure it doesn’t? To select ones clearly labeled “non-GMO.” The companies that produce these natural foods are often transparent with their ingredients list — so you know exactly what is (and what isn’t) in your food.
Going Non-GMO: Finding the Baby Formula That Works For You
The good news is, if you’re looking to switch to non-GMO formula, there are plenty of options available today.
A majority of European infant and baby formulas are not only GMO-free. They’re also organic and free from harmful additives. This takes the guesswork out of shopping and helps moms feel more confident in their purchase decisions.
At this point, you might be asking: Didn’t you say there were other, more mainstream brands that are making the switch to non-GMO formula? The reality remains that controversy is still swirling around the extent of these switches, and the intent behind them.
On the other hand, European formulas designated as organic, or non-GMO, are a simple solution to a complex and multi-layered problem. By opting for some of these brands, you’re putting the control back into your hands.
Think about it: There’s really only a brief window of time when you can make a majority of your child’s decisions for him or her. While they’re little, they depend on you to choose the healthiest, most nutritious food. To this end, if you’re concerned about GMOs, European infant formulas should be considered as excellent alternatives.
If you’re like more information on non-GMO formula we’d love to help.
Feel free to browse some of the organic and non-GMO formula, as well as snacks and others kids’ foods, that are available via our website.
Then, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. Your journey to a healthier tomorrow for you and your baby could start today.