Although strict regulations exist for baby food and infant formula in North America, there are still concerns that genetically modified ingredients are present and possibly a threat.
Genetically modified organisms are foods whereby the DNA has been spliced together with other organisms to change the traits, often to help express the effects of toxic pesticides. Recent evidence shows that GMOs may be responsible for serious human health problems, including the growth of tumours in rats.
The Institute of Responsible Technology lists the reasons that children are more susceptible to the health risks associated with GMOs including vulnerability to allergens, antibiotic resistant diseases and nutritional problems. As a parent, there are steps you can take to ensure your baby is safe from these risks.Read more about avoiding GMOs
What ingredients in baby foods and infant formula are most likely to be genetically modified?
According to the non-gmo shopping guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology ( a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of GMOs in our food supply), the following ingredients in baby foods are highly suspect unless certified organic:
Soy, milk (may be from cows injected with rbGH), corn syrup, corn syrup solids and soy lecithin
Other ingredients to avoid are: canola oil, maltodextrin
How can you avoid buying baby food and infant formula with genetically modified ingredients? One assurance is to buy organic baby food. Another obvious choice is to make your own baby food with safe foods.
The following baby food brands are part of the NON-GMO Project-verified to have no GMO ingredients:
- Earth's Best
- HAPPYBABY Pouches
- Little Duck Organics
- Oh Baby Foods
- Organic Baby
- Plum Organics
For other brands you can verify directly with the company through the NON-GMO Project verification process.
If you’re feeling disheartened by this issue, positive news comes in the form of legal action: House Bill 6527, “An act concerning genetically engineered baby food”, has been passed to the next stage of legislature in Connecticut in March 2013. This act would require that all genetically engineered ingredients in baby food and infant formula “include clear and conspicuous labeling.” Strong support for this initiative is obvious-150 Connecticut based organizations and businesses have endorsed the bill along with grassroots organizations like Food Democracy Now! Connecticut joins the movement of over 37 supportive coalitions as part of the movement known as www.righttoknow-gmo.org.Read more about GMOs in stores
The best way to navigate the complex and overwhelming world of our food systems is to stay informed. Familiarize yourself with the helpful guides out there on how to avoid GMOs; start asking more questions. If you really enjoy a certain brand of products and you’d like to continue buying them, ask the company directly what is in their food products. Never underestimate the power of one person. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream committed to eliminating GMO ingredients from their products because consumers spoke up. So did Whole Foods Market. These are not small mom and pop stores; these are huge companies. These amazing results from consumers standing up for the safety of their food is unprecedented. The more we speak up the more the powers that be will listen. If they don’t, we can just fold up our wallet and walk away.
Photo credit: Frank Guido