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What is Non-GMO Infant Formula?

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At The Honest Company, we take a BEST-FOR-BABY approach in everything we do, and that includes supporting all types of feeding. We believe that how parents feed their babies is a personal decision based on the needs of their families. We also believe pediatricians, dietitians and lactation consultants are key resources for parents in making this important decision, if and when infant formula becomes necessary. But with so many different types of infant formulas available today, it isn’t always clear what the differences are and how to make the right choice for you and yours. That’s why we’re doing our part to provide insight into some of the different formula types, with a specific focus on the distinction between organic and a new type of infant formula on the market labeled “Non-GMO”.

FDA Infant Formula Act

By way of some (honest) background information, all companies that manufacture and distribute infant formula in the United States must adhere to the strict guidelines of the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Infant Formula Act in order to ensure that the product meets the requirements needed for proper infant growth and development. The Infant Formula Act covers quality control requirements and procedures, nutrient specifications (located in section 412(i) of the FFDCA and 21 CFR 107.100 – these nutrient specifications include minimum amounts for 30 nutrients and maximum amounts for 9 of those nutrients) and rigorous testing processes.

What Does it Mean to Be a Non-GMO Infant Formula?

Infant formulas labeled as “Non-GMO” do not include genetically engineered ingredients. But what exactly are genetically engineered ingredients? They are ingredients that have had their DNA altered by the addition of genes from another ingredient species, which are often introduced to improve crop protection, breed faster growing animals, or increase nutritional value (1,2).

What Does it Mean to Be an Organic Infant Formula?

Infant formulas labeled as “organic” do not include genetically engineered ingredients and also comply with the following USDA Organic regulations.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees the National Organic Program (NOP), which defines organic as:

  • Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.
  • Food produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.
  • Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products that come from animals who are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
  • Food produced without genetically engineered ingredients.

Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved, third party certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to ensure the farmer is in compliance with USDA organic standards.

So to be clear, like Non-GMO formula, organic infant formula has no genetically engineered ingredients, by law. Organic is, and always has been, Non-GMO…and more!

With all of this information in mind, and to better help you make the right decision for you and your family, we wanted to provide you a clear visual representation of the differences between conventional, Non-GMO and organic infant formulas.

What is Non-GMO Infant Formula?

Why Did We Choose to Create an Organic Formula?

As we outlined above, organic food has a wide variety of benefits. Not only are organic foods grown without conventional pesticides and sewage sludge, but they also promote responsible farming methods that protect the environment for future generations. In addition, organic foods must be produced without genetically engineered ingredients.

“Non-GMO” has been a hot topic for quite some time. In 2015, 300 researchers from around the world released a statement emphasizing that there’s no consensus on safety and that more research needs to be done to establish whether foods with genetically engineered ingredients are safe or not (6). Still, in May of 2016, the National Academy of Sciences released a report stating genetically engineered crops pose no additional risks to health when compared to conventional foods (7). The study also found that the use of genetic engineering has increased pest resistance, which according to the study, is a “major agricultural problem.”

Our Organic Infant Formula is (and always has been) “Non-GMO” (made without genetically engineered ingredients). Although the jury is still out on the ultimate pros and cons of genetic modification, in line with our steadfast commitment to transparency and consumer clarity, we have updated our Organic Infant Formula label to include this important distinction.

When we decided to create an infant formula, we crafted a formula carefully modeled after breast milk, with complete infant nutrition supplied by high quality ingredients.  

We are committed to:

  • Creating high-quality, organic, Non-GMO (no genetically engineered ingredients) infant formula and supporting all feeding needs by offering trusted solutions for both mom and baby.
  • Offering complete infant nutrition modeled after breast milk to support your baby (should you need it) during this critical time of development.
  • Providing the information that allows you to make the decisions that best fit you and your family.
  • Doing our part to support organic, Non-GMO, sustainable farming.

Join us – together we can make it better!

References:

  1. Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2016, from http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/
  2. Bruton, S. V. (2013). GMO Food Labeling. Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Hilbeck, A., Binimelis, R., Defarge, N., Steinbrecher, R., Székács, A., Wickson, F., … & Novotny12, E. (2015). No scientific consensus on GMO safety. Environmental Sciences Europe, 27(1),
  3. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2016, from http://www.nap.edu/catalog/23395/genetically-engineered-crops-experiences-and-prospects

6 Comments

  1. avatar
    Sherry Johnson-Cushing

    I know there is a difference in the quality of Honest organic formula. Two of my grandchildren were switched to soy formula between 3-4 months of age due to stomach problems on all the milk based formulas we tried from the store. They would scream from pain. When this happened with the third full sibling to the other two, I happened upon an article the compared all the analysis on the various formulas, and concluded that Honest formula was the closest to breast milk, and the most organic. So I went to their website and ordered a trial of it, asked my daughter to try it on Jacob. And he was fine on it. So that is what he had from then on, and he thrived. So I am a believer that a good organic formula makes a difference. You do have to give the dha separate, I think it was because the best source for it couldn’t be added with dry formula?

    • avatar
      Melissa Masters

      I’m sorry but no organic formula made in the USA is good enough. I’m sick of these company’s pretending to care about our children’s health while they secretly only care about money. If they truly wanted to make a healthy formula they could but it would cost them more money therefore their profit margin would decrease. Just for the record, My son does drink organic formula but sadly I have to procure from overseas because the “fda’s strict regulations” are a joke compared to Europe’s . Don’t believe me? Research for yourselves, there are many resources that will back me up. If you want to give your child real organic formula, don’t settle! You should read up on companies Hipp and Holle . Strange names but amazing organic formula and thousands of parents who have tried for themselves will agree. I was once ignorant to this industries dirty secrets and I too fed my child formulas like Enfami, Similac, and even ironically Honest’s brand because I was trying to find one that would stop causing my child stomach issues. It took no time at all once I got online and looked up his symptoms. Now my son is happy and thriving on Holle and recently Hipp products. Change is difficult but learning about what’s really in baby formula and why it’s not ok is eye opening and life altering. I’m glad I took the time to learn the truth and have I now have the tools to provide my child with the best nutrition I can.

      • avatar
        Lorraine Rae Anne

        agreed..and these people feeding their babies soy really need to get educated!! yikes

        • avatar
          Melissa Masters

          Your right and it’s scary how soy is in everything these days because it’s a cheap preservative. Even the European formulas I praise have some versions w soy so I don’t buy those but at least it’s organic. I guess there are still those parents that want soy because of a lactose intolerance which I get but personally I would choose Holles goat milk formula if that was an issue. I’m actually considering buying that this time if I indeed have to supplement because goats milk is more similar to our breastmilk and better for baby than cows milk. I was even told that instead of starting whole cows milk on their 1st birthday that we should be giving our children a goats toddler formula instead. Just something to think about & research if curious.

      • avatar
        Erica Curry

        I’m just going to strictly breastfeed my baby now all this has frighten me omg????????I just needed information on the difference of Non-gmo cause I tried it from a sample just to see how my baby do and she have been having such a bad tummy ache and vomiting. On the regular Similac advance she was fine I guess. Well I’m bout to pump and pump and she already latch I’m scared to use any formula now. We just never know where this milk comes from ????????????but at least my milk I know is healthy

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