Update May 30, 2015: Good News! Abbott Labs has announced that it will begin marketing a version of Similac Advance that will be GMO free. Following the introduction of GMO free Advance, a non-GMO version of Similac Sensitive will be offered. Depending on how the market reacts to the new products, other formulas may also become GMO free. (source)
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Abbott Laboratories shareholders have rejected a proposal to remove genetically engineered ingredients from Similac infant formulas, according to DairyReporter.com,. [source]
In a press release dated April 23, 2013, As You Sow, an Abbott Labs investor, announced that it would present a resolution at the annual shareholders meeting, April 26, 2013, to have GMOs removed from Similac infant formula. As You Sow cited the “new and credible scientific concerns” about the safety of GMOs and the shift of public opinion illustrated by a recent poll where 91% of consumers wanted foods with GMO content to be labeled.
The proposal was presented to the shareholders by Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, and, according to a company spokesperson, it was rejected receiving only 3% of the votes. [source] It looks like only 3% of shareholders are able to value the health of babies over a potential loss of profit. Is this more profit at any cost?
Be assured that although shareholders rejected the proposal, it was NOT because a GMO-free infant formula could not be marketed. Abbott Labs is already doing so in the EU.[source]
How much GMO is in Similac? A look at the ingredients gives us a clue. The first ingredient in Similac Sensitive is corn syrup, and, in the U.S., the vast majority of corn is GMO. Being listed first means that there’s more corn syrup in the formula than any other ingredient. The GMO content increases if the second ingredient, sugar, is made from beets, which, if not organic, is probably also GMO. At least for now, cane sugar is not GMO. Soy oil, another likely GMO ingredient, is number five on the list. [source]
Similac soy formula has even more GMO content than Similac Sensitive, probably more than 70% since the first few listed ingredients include 42.6% corn syrup, 14.7% soy protein isolate, 10.1% sugar (if beet sugar), and 8.4% soy oil. All of these are probably GMO, if not organic, and nothing on the label says any ingredient is organic. [source] Of course, GMOs aren’t the only problem with Similac soy formula, but that’s a subject for another post.
Although some people thought there might be strong support for the proposal, the shareholders overwhelming rejected the removal of GMOs from infant formula.
DairyReporter.com, Abbott Laboratories shareholders reject proposal to remove GMOs from infant formula
As You Sow, Investors Ask Abbott Labs to Take GMOs Out of Similac Baby Formula
Cornucopia Institute, GMOs Tell Makers of Similac That Our Babies Are Not “Human Lab Rats”
Natural News, Action Alert: Demand that Similac take GMOs out of its infant formulas
Natural News, It’s not the bugs in Similac that make me sick – let’s recall the other ingredients
Cornucopia Institute, Pull GMOs Out of Similac? Shareholders Vote No
Better than commercial formula:
Information about soy formula: