Baby milk manufacturers come under ethical spotlight againJune 2013
Infant feeding brands are under the ethical cosh again following an American pressure group’s assertion that some are using genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) and therefore exposing babies to unnecessary health risks.
Similac, Enfamil, and Gerber Good Start – which combined account for more than 90% of all infant formula sales in the US – are using GMOs in the US and Canada, which in other countries, such as China, Mexico, Russia and the EU have to be removed or clearly labelled.
GMO Inside, a non-GMO coalition led by Green America, is calling on these brands’ parent companies (Abbott Laboratories, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Nestlé), via an online petition, to remove GMO ingredients immediately.
Unlike more than 60 countries around the world, the United States and Canada do not require companies to label and reveal their GMO ingredients to consumers. This means that American and Canadian babies are exposed to ingredients that parents in Europe, China, and elsewhere would never feed their children, says the pressure group. GMO Inside highlights the fact that due to these labeling requirements, all three companies offer non-GMO formula options to their consumers in Europe.
When approached by Ethical Performance, Nestlé representatives directed enquiries to its online statement on genetically modified ingredients: “As a global food manufacturer and marketer, Nestlé takes into consideration local needs, cultural differences and consumer preferences as well as attitudes concerning the use of ingredients derived from genetically modified crops. In some regions of the world, governments have expressed a keen interest in this technology as a potential tool to address their country’s future food requirements.
“Nestlé’s long term experience in food production can be a valuable resource in finding the right balance between these elements. This may well result in different solutions in various regions of the world, without jeopardizing in any way the safety and quality of its products.
“Provided their safety is proven, as required for all ingredients, Nestlé will continue to use ingredients derived from genetically modified crops wherever appropriate.”
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