Non-GMO and Neocate

Posted 11.9.11 | Christine Graham-Garo

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.

- Christine

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.

Read Comments (19)

  • 2012-09-22 | Jill

    I’m curious to know how you know the corn from which the first ingredient, corn syrup solids, was made was GMO free. Thanks!

  • 2012-09-26 | Christine Graham-Garo

    Dear Jill,
    Nutricia uses control measures to ensure the corn we use is from native, or non-GMO, sources. We are in direct contact with the suppliers to ensure we get non-GMO ingredients. If you wish to know more, we are happy to provide you with a statement on this. Give us a call at 1-800-Neocate or write to us to find out more. 
    Thanks, Christine

  • 2013-04-02 | Dasha Powell

    Hi, could you please email me a proof that your formula is made without GMO ingredients?

    Thank you!


  • 2013-04-20 | Dawn

    I would like the info as well please.
    Thank you

  • 2014-06-19 | Nichole

    I’d like a written statement by your company, saying that all of your elemental formula ingredients are completely free of GMOs.

  • 2014-06-19 | Rob

    Hi Nichole,
    Sure - give us a call at 1-800-NEOCATE and we’ll be happy to provide that.

  • 2014-07-04 | Samantha Stone

    I’m glad that you guys are providing a non-gmo product for our children. Have you considered joining the Non-GMO Project? They are a great organization dedicated to compiling a list and verification of non-gmo products. I know many parents as well as myself use that list as a shopping guide.

  • 2014-07-07 | Rob

    Hi Samantha,
    At this time we have not sought Non-GMO Project verification for any of our other Neocate products. We will continue to evaluate this decision, especially as we receive questions from our customers about the GMO status of Neocate products. Thanks for your comments!

  • 2014-12-07 | Kristin

    Thank you for offering a product that is GMO free. However, we live in a country where claims can be made without verification. Because of this, I believe parents of children with food allergies would feel much more comfortable with your product if it were certified GMO free by a third party.

  • 2014-12-08 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

    Hi Kristin,
      You’re absolutely right - we hear about unsubstantiated claims being made on food products all the time in the United States. However, the absence of federally recognized standards or rules makes the GMO issue a particularly tricky one to navigate for companies like ours, which are subject to federal oversight. Even though respected 3rd-party agencies exist to provide non-GMO certification, it’s a complex issue. That being said, we hear you, and we’ll continue to keep an eye on this to consider working with such an agency!

  • 2015-03-16 | Liz

    I agree with Nicole:  I’d like a written statement by your company, saying that all of your elemental formula ingredients are completely free of GMOs.  Please send that to my email.

  • 2015-03-17 | Nutrition Specialist

    Hi Liz,
      Absolutely, you should receive that today. For anyone else who would like a copy, send us an email (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) or give us a call (1-800-NEOCATE) and we’ll be happy to provide that.

  • 2015-11-05 | Kathryn

    Is your infant formula MSG free as well?

  • 2015-11-06 | Nutrition Specialist

    Hi Kathryn,
      We do not make the claim that our Neocate products are “MSG-free,” as to make that claim we would need to test every batch for the presence of MSG, which we do not do. However, we do not add MSG to any of our Neocate products.
      Hope this helps!

  • 2015-11-21 | Allison

    With regard to your statement that GMO crops have done a lot to increase crop yields and alleviate world hunger, there is much evidence to prove otherwise. Why would a company supporting non-GMO products put a controversial pro GMO statement on their website? It makes me mistrustful and the fact you are not non-GMO verified.

  • 2015-11-24 | Neocate Admin

    Hi Allison, As Christine mentioned in her blog post, the use of GMO ingredients is a controversial topic. We realize the use of GMO ingredients are not favorable to some, which helps our decision to source ingredients derived from sources that are not genetically modified. At this time we have not sought third-party certification, such as the ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ seal. We will continue to evaluate this decision, especially as we receive questions from our customers about the use of GMO ingredients. Please feel free to email our Nutrition Services team at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for a copy of our GMO statement.

  • 2016-07-28 | Mary

    Do you use nano particles in your formulas? What about Hydroxyapatite?
    This is a concerning development in infant and toddler formulas. I want to know if I am giving it to my child.
    Thank you

  • 2016-08-19 | Nutrition Specialist

    Hi Mary,
      Thanks so much for your questions. Neocate products do not contain any known nanoparticles, and we do not add hydroxyapatite to Neocate products.

  • 2016-08-22 | Mary

    Thank you so much, Rob!  I am thankful you all offer a product that is free of gmo and does not contain these nanoparticles. 
    I appreciate the time you took researching this, it means a lot.

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.