Nestlé USA and Mead Johnson Nutrition have dismissed calls to remove genetically-modified organisms (GMO) from their infant formula products in the US – citing the approved use of GMOs by several national and global regulatory bodies.
DairyReporter.com approached the companies following the publication of an open letter to Nestlé USA, Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott Laboratories by anti-GMO campaign group, GMO Inside.
According to GMO Inside, these companies “likely” use GMO ingredients such as soy, corn and sugar in their popular infant formula products.
In the letter, the campaign group urged Nestlé USA’s Paul Bulcke, Abbott Laboratories’ Miles White, and Mead Johnson Nutrition’s R Kasper Jakobsen to “take a proactive stand and announce a phase out of all GMOs in your infant formulas in 2013.”
“Similac, Enfamil, and Gerber Good Start – which combined account for more than 90% of all infant formula sales in the US – are exposing American and Canadian babies to potentially grave health risks by using genetically modified ingredients,” said a statement accompanying the letter.
GMO Inside issued its call to Nestlé USA, Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott Laboratories just days after Abbott Laboratories shareholders voted not to remove GMOs from the company’s Similac infant formula range.
FDA, WHO, FAO declared GMOs safe
DairyReporter.com approached Nestlé USA and Mead Johnson Nutrition in regards to the letter.
In a statement, Mead Johnson Nutrition said that its infant formula products “comply with all applicable laws and regulations” in each country that it operates in.
“The health and safety of our consumers is our highest priority, which is why we take such care with the quality of our ingredients, the integrity of our manufacturing processes, the scientific rigor behind our products, and the careful adherence to all government and health authority rules and regulations – in addition to our own very stringent Mead Johnson standards.”
“Both national and global regulatory agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, have declared that foods and ingredients produced through biotechnology are safe,” added the statement.
IFC members adhere to standards
Our approach to Nestlé USA was passed on to the International Formula Council (IFC), which represents the interests of infant formula manufacturers and marketers including Nestlé, Abbott Laboratories, and Mead Johnson Nutrition.
In a statement, the IFC said that all of its members “adhere to all local, regional and national standards for the use and labelling of ingredients.”
“Agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with individual state governments all work together to ensure that crops produced with biotechnology are safe to eat and environmentally sound.”
“Some infant formula ingredients, such as soy protein, can be derived from crops grown using biotechnology (i.e., genetic engineering or genetic modification),” it said.
“Billions of people, including infants, have eaten biotech food safely for more than 15 years, with no evidence of harm demonstrated anywhere in the world,” the statement added.