Home > Health Effects of GM Foods > GM Baby Milk

GM Baby Milk

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 31 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Gm Infant Baby Milk Breastfeed Women

We all seem to know that breast milk is best for babies, particularly during the first six months of life. But recent research shows that in the United Kingdom, only three percent of women breastfeed exclusively for those precious first six months of a baby's life. In the United States, the number is better at eleven percent but far from being a majority in either country.

Campaigns to increase these figures have been ongoing for years but with little success. It seems that a sensible approach should be to make infant formula as healthy, nutritious – and successful in terms of the baby's health – as possible.

GM Infant Formula Developed

Today, GM technology is such that researchers believe it could be reasonable to assume we have the capability for producing proteins similar to human milk but instead, adding them to infant formula.

The Big Challenge

The problem is that trying to 'copy' human breast milk is a formidable task that some believe just isn't possible. If you think about all the healthy, important fats, proteins and vitamins that can be found in breast milk, that alone is a difficult task for copying.

However, breast milk also has special antibodies and hormones that are so crucial for a baby's development and health. The living bacteria in breast milk play an important role in the health of a baby's gut as well.

Taking Steps to Improve Infant Formula

To date though, there are two proteins that have become the first to be around the corner from commercialisation. Lactoferrin and lysozyme are manufactured in GM rice and have shown promising results as part of an oral rehydration product used to treat diarrhoea in developing nations.

There may be potential for these products to be used in infant formula but the problem is that they would have to be labelled. Given the widespread mistrust of GM products, it is doubtful that the UK public would be keen to purchase infant formula that contains GM ingredients, even if those ingredients were proven to show benefit and mimic some of the components of breast milk.

In short, it's an area that most companies would probably rather not venture, despite the enormous potential to improve infant formula. It may be that if attitudes in Europe and the UK begin to change, the formula could be successful.

Alternately, people in the US don't share the same intense anti-GM sentiment that saturates the UK and Europe, so this kind of product may fare well in North America. If studies performed over time can then show a direct benefit from the GM formula, this may more easily persuade UK mothers to purchase the product.

Making Infant Formula Better

Statistically, it's quite clear that babies fed with formula milk lose out on a lot of the important benefits of breast milk. They are more susceptible to infections and don't have the same robust immune systems. Any infant formula that can mimic these proteins could potentially make an enormous difference in the health of babies everywhere.

Still, the campaigns encouraging mothers to breastfeed should continue – perhaps being redesigned for greater success. At the same time, all efforts should be made to improve infant formula and give babies the best chance of a healthy life.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • achakar andrew
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    My ethical concern is equity between those who use GMOs and those using organic .can those who use gmos be better than others who…
    9 April 2019
  • Dr.Farncer
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    I think GMOs are stupid we need to use what we have available and stop killing the human race
    14 March 2019
  • supiegy
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    loved it for school was amazing!!! but there not very ethical and are more environmental rather than ethical. but thx
    13 March 2019
  • sadfdfwe
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    There are a number of ethical concerns over genetically modified (GM) foods and these have all affected public support of the…
    13 March 2019
  • big bouncing baby bo
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    what if gmos are actually gmod mods in disguise?!!?!?
    25 February 2019
  • Reverend Upp
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    GMO's are unsanctioned by our true god, the flying spaghetti monster! Truly unblessed
    20 February 2019
  • LuiG97
    Re: Short-term Effects of GM Foods
    Shanqueesha, you must be real autistic or something. You are part of the 70%ish people who think GMOs are bad to the people. You…
    26 November 2018
    Re: Making Crops More Resilient
    Hi my name is not Joey Sager and I would love to tell you how much I love (hate) this website :)
    1 November 2018
  • N/A
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    Although the author does not have any Works Cited or Resources, he does have a valid point concerning GMOs. It is a relatively…
    23 October 2018
  • Rick and Morty
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    this site doesn't use any sources or researches or studies, non of this has any supporting point provided, just some person…
    22 August 2018