A question we are getting more and more from parents is whether Neocate uses ingredients from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The answer to that is ‘No’! To be REALLY specific, Neocate ingredients are certified by suppliers to be non-genetically modified through the use of modern biotechnology, compliant with EC regulations 1829/2003 & 1830/2003 (those are European regulations).
GMO ingredients are ingredients from a food item (or even an animal) derived from a food crop that has been altered in some way using genetic engineering. Many food manufacturers or distributors in the United States have not commented on the GMO status of the ingredients used in their products. It's important to note that many scientists and healthcare professionals do not see GMO ingredients as a big concern. Genetic modification can be thought of in many cases as a speeding up of the traditional process of plant or animal breeding, and has done wonders to increase crop yields over the past several decades to help alleviate world hunger.
Research on the use of GMO ingredients is relatively new and is finding to be controversial.
One of the main concerns of using GMO ingredients and/or foods in our community is that the altered ingredient or food item may contain new allergenic substances due to the introduction of new and different genes. In fact, a proposal to incorporate a gene from Brazil nuts into soybeans was abandoned because of the fear of causing unexpected allergic reactions.1 This concern holds the most weight with scientists in regards to possible human health risks in using GM foods and ingredients.
Another concern is that genetic engineering often involves the use of antibiotic-resistance genes as "selectable markers" and that this could speed the development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains that are resistant to available antibiotics we have today.2
Other research looks to the potential benefits of GMO food items as they may help to decrease hunger and starvation to millions because GMO crops can produce better yields, and can be more resistant to drought or pests.
The labeling of GMO foods is also a hot topic. There is much debate as to whether companies should be required to label that a food has GMO ingredients or not. This is an ongoing debate and we will have to wait and see what comes of it. If consumers show preference for GMO labeled foods over non-labeled foods, then industry will have the incentive to regulate itself or risk losing the customer.
Because this is still being investigated, more will have to be studied to understand the true implications of GM ingredients. But for the time being, we hope that the information we provide about the ingredients used in Neocate products is helpful.
1. Identification of a Brazil-nut allergen in transgenic soybeans New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 334, No 11, pp 688-692, 1996).
2. Bakshi A (2003). "Potential adverse health effects of genetically modified crops". J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev 6 (3): 211–25.
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