Shareholders of Abbott Laboratories voted April 26 on whether the company should adopt a non-GMO policy for its products, which include one of the nation’s leading infant formula brands, Similac.

formula_notextIn the week prior to the vote, The Cornucopia Institute initiated a petition drive, in support of As You Sow, the shareholder activism group that filed the resolution, to collect signatures urging Abbott to remove GMOs from its infant formula. In just a week’s time, we collected nearly 15,000 signatures. Thank you to all who signed the petition.

Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, presented these signatures at the Abbott shareholder meeting prior to the vote.

What was the outcome of the vote? A paltry 3.21% of Abbott Laboratories shareholders voted in favor of the non-GMO policy. “While this might appear to be a low vote, historically resolutions on GMOs take time to build momentum,” said Andrew Behar.

“At As You Sow we have seen first-year shareholder campaigns with low votes,” Behair explained, “and we know that with persistence these votes have increased over time and have led to lasting change. It is our task to continue to educate shareholders and management about the risks associated with company practices,” he said.

In other words: this campaign is far from over.

Nobody should be eating GMO foods, especially not babies. GMOs have not been adequately tested for safety, and results from a number of animal studies point to potential harm. What is especially troubling is that long-term safety tests are non-existent.

Given that 92% of soybeans used in processed foods comes from genetically engineered seed, soy-based infant formula is extremely likely to contain GMOs. And dairy-based formula contains soy oil, also likely derived from GMO soy. A sure way to avoid GMOs in infant formula is to buy organic—GMOs are prohibited in organic food.

Until infant formula makers like Abbott Laboratories stop using GMO ingredients, hundreds of thousands of newborns and infants will be unwitting participants in a huge, uncontrolled experiment with the health of the next generation. Cornucopia will continue the fight to make sure that all formula-fed babies are protected from the potential harm of GMOs.

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