Abbott's Decision to Offer GMO-Free Baby Formula Applauded by As You Sow

Following Three Years of Shareholder Proposals, Consumers Will Have Non-GMO Option

May 27, 2015, 09:03 ET from As You Sow

OAKLAND, Calif., May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Abbott Laboratories, producer of market-leading Similac Advance baby formula, has announced that it will offer a version of its formula made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to U.S. consumers by the end of the month. The move comes after three years of engagement and shareholder resolutions from environmental health advocacy organization As You Sow and pressure from other investors and grassroots groups.

"This is great news for parents who want better choices, and for shareholders who want to invest in responsive, sustainable companies," said Cari Rudd, an Abbott shareholder on whose behalf As You Sow filed the resolution.

Similac Advance is the number one commercial baby formula brand in the U.S. Abbott joins a growing number of companies offering popular brands made without GMOs, including Original Cheerios, Grape Nuts, Kashi, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, Chipotle food products, Smart Balance, and Hershey's Kisses. Whole Foods Market will label all food in its stores for GMOs by 2018.

"We listen to moms and dads, and they've told us they want a non-GMO option," said Chris Calamari, General Manager of Abbott's pediatric nutrition business. "We want to make sure we meet the desires of parents."

Abbott's decision has been commended by faith-based investors, including members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and consumer advocacy group Green America, who have pressed Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Nestle to remove genetically engineered ingredients from baby formula.

"Today Abbott has shown that they are a leader by investing in sustainable agriculture," said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow. "GMOs are engineered to be used with toxic pesticides, including glyphosate, which recently was listed as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Polls show that 93% of Americans want GMOs to be labeled or taken out of their foods. Concerned parents are driving the decisions to have safer food products – they are creating demand for sustainable agriculture."

As You Sow's shareholder proposal was supported by $2.7 billion in Abbott shares at the April annual meeting, representing 6% of voting shares. As You Sow published a memo in support of the resolution, noting that 64 countries label or ban GMOs, including the European Union.

CONTACT: Andrew Montes, (510) 735-8144,