Today in the United States, it's increasingly common to read or hear news reports about major companies, restaurants and suppliers deciding to use non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients in their food offerings. There's constant conversation on social media and beyond on the topic.

Parents are no exception. Over the past few years, moms and dads have increasingly asked for a non-GMO infant formula option – and Abbott has delivered. Starting in late May, Similac Advance Non-GMO, which is made from ingredients not genetically engineered, will begin appearing on U.S. shelves in limited distribution.

"First and foremost, we're a science-based company," said Chris Calamari, general manager, U.S. Pediatric Nutrition, Abbott. "The body of science is clear—GMOs are safe. Our Similac formulas are based on the latest science with the goal of being as close as possible to breast milk—the gold standard. But we also listen to parents who told us they want us to make a non-GMO option."

In a 2014 "Baby Food and Drink" research study, market intelligence firm Mintel found that one-third of women surveyed want to see brands commit to offering non-GMO and organic ingredients as part of their product mix.

What are GMOs, anyway – and why all the talk?

Thanks to biotechnology, scientists are able to copy a plant or organism's gene and use it in another plant. The resulting plant is genetically modified. Farmers choose to use genetic modification for different reasons, says the World Health Organization—to increase a crop's yield; to enhance its nutritional value; to save crops from the threat of disease. Regulatory agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization have said that they're safe.

Listening to consumers, supporting their choices

Similac Advance Non-GMO is the first and only non-GMO-labeled formula from a leading infant formula brand in the United States. Rather than replacing any of the brand's existing products, this latest option is an extension of Abbott's U.S. portfolio, which also includes Similac Organic, introduced in 2006.

The new Similac Advance Non-GMO formula has the same ingredients as market-leading Similac Advance, which is our closest formula to breast milk. The distinction? Some of the high-quality ingredients used in each are sourced differently. The non-GMO product doesn’t contain ingredients that have been genetically engineered.

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