Does Amway or Nutrilite use GMO crops?

I’ve occasionally received questions about whether Amway uses genetically modified organism (GMO) crops in their products, in particular in Nutrilite products. I’m personally not overly concerned by GMO if it’s from a company I trust. In past years “gmo” had a simpler name – farming! We’ve been genetically modifying our food supply for thousands of years, through transplanting and interbreeding of different plants and animals. Now we can just do it faster and in a more controlled situation.

Still, I understand peoples concerns. On the weekend though, there was a surprising article posted in China’s People’s Daily Online – Is Amway Nutrilite protein powder as addictive as heroin? The article is a bizarre, non-scientific hit piece, against both Amway and GMO. It cites some studies that found problems with some GMO animals. That’s kind of like saying you shouldn’t eat strawberries (a man-made hybrid fruit) because breading a donkey and a horse will give you an infertile mule. Just plain silly.

But it gets sillier. The article says, about Amway protein powder …

“people really feel better to take the Nutrilite protein powder but feel not as good  as before if stop taking it”

… and claim this is evidence the product is addictive and creates dependence like heroin! Right. So if I give a badly dehydrated person water … they’ll feel better. If I stop it and let them get badly dehydrated again, they’ll feel even worse.

Bad water! Bad bad water!

The article has obviously been written or sourced from an Amway competitor, and there’s a big clue to this when we go back to the discussion on GMO -

 “Industry insiders said that the Amway Nutrilite protein powder sold in China contains protein from GM soybeans grown in the United States.”

Industry insiders” huh? That’s code for “competitors”. Still, I was interested if Amway was using GMO so I started googling around, and I found several documents of interest. One was the All Plant Protein Powder FAQ, produced by ” TECHNICAL REGULATORY SERVICES, Access Business Group, South Africa”. Access Business Group (ABG),  a part of Alticor, is responsible for manufacturing Amway products. The FAQ says -

42. How do we verify that we use non-genetically modified soybeans?

We follow the European Union standard for providing non-genetically modified ingredients. The supplier of our soy protein isolate has a
stringent quality control system in place to ensure they provide us with non-genetically soybeans. We also ensure this requirement is being
met by using a test known as polymerase chain reaction, or PCR testing. This advanced methodology can test for the presence of genetically
modified DNA.

This makes it pretty clear this product has no GMO. But is it perhaps different in different markets? I also found, from the same group at ABG, an FAQ on Nutrilite and Organic Farming -

22. Do Nutrilite farms utilize GMOs or GMMs?
Nutrilite has a long tradition of using organic farm practices on its farms. This policy includes using only traditional
farming methods and natural methods to control insects and prevent crop disease, and has been extended to preclude
the growing of GMO and GMM plants on any Nutrilite farming operation. It reflects Nutrilite’s commitment to providing
customers with products that address all of their concerns

So, Nutrilite farms don’t use GMO/GMM and in Europe/South Africa at least, they follow EU standards for suppliers. The final nail in the coffin for the People’s Daily claim is this, the Nutrilite Global GMO Policy, which states -

All ingredients for Amway core branded products (Nutrilite, Positrim) will be non-GMO or IP with a recombinant DNA threshold of 0.9% with the exception of
flavors, and subcomponents with no function or presence in the final formula.

So there you go. With some minor exceptions, Amway and Nutrilite don’t use GMO ingredients.

Anna Banana Unveiled

Normally I think people who post anonymously online have a right to their privacy and their identities should generally not be revealed. I make exceptions under certain circumstances. Joecool for example, I originally uncovered when he was (falsely) accusing IBOs of threatening his family and later was shown to be posting under different names, pretending to be IBOs or former IBOs in different Amway groups. As far as I’m concerned, once you cross from sharing your opinion to fraud and libel, you’ve relinquished your right to privacy.

While Joecool remains the most prolific anti-Amway obsessive on the internet, back in 2010 another reared their ugly head – “Anna Banana” and her blog “Married to an Ambot“. On her blog, Anna Banana doesn’t hold back, with regular foul-mouthed tirades against Amway, Amway products, and her former upline. The comments she allows are often even worse, with crude anonymous abuse of the worse sort. I sometimes wonder how much of it is hers rather than legitimate commentary.

When the blog first launched, there were suspicions that Anna Banana was yet another Joecool alias. These were raised even further when I discovered “Anna Banana” was the name of a bar just down the road from Joecool’s then place of work. I did some checking with others and concluded that, unlike a number of other blogs, this one was actually a legitimate newcomer, located in the Pacific North-West of North America. Since then I haven’t particularly followed her blog. Any attempts to engage in adult dialogue on her website have been returned with childish abuse.

In April this year though, Anna Banana highlighted some comments on her blog that she says were directed towards me. Comments like this -

“You took my friend and soon you’ll regret this scambot.”

“Typical Scambot unit! I sure hope your upline programmed a few more lines to defend your mission for Scamway/Quickscam. Those like you took my friend and I’ll make sure to make you regret it Ambot!”

“The countdown has begun Ambot! The day when I shall have your head and theirs overlooking my nightstand will not come too soon shitway. I swear, they should upgrade your programming, that old recording in your memory-bank is starting to piss me off scamshit!”

People were posting death threats against me on her blog, and she apparently found it amusing and worth highlighting.  Given that Amway critics had already posted my name and address and photos of myself and my children online, and that Anna Banana was regularly allowing her commentators to link to this information, this was more than a little concerning. The entire tone of her blog and her comments does not engender confidence that these are in jest. Needless to say, such activity is also illegal for both the poster and the publisher (Anna Banana).

As far as I’m concerned, if you publish (and encourage) death threats against me you have well and truly relinquished your right to privacy.

So who is Anna Banana?

The internet isn’t as anonymous as you might think. People often leave traces they forget about, like Joecool leaving his email address published on links on forum posts, which allowed me to identify him. Has Anna Banana done similar? I’ll admit, she’s been careful. She gave no email address on her blog to contact her that I could find, and she never comments on my blog, make it difficult to trace her internet address or other information. When she has commented elsewhere she’s always been careful not to give away too much. Trying to work out her story was difficult, as many of her rants seemed to be about issues that must have been more than a decade ago (talking about tapes) yet she also spoke about other things as if they were recent, even current. Much of the stuff she talked about seemed like little more than caricatures of Amway criticism rather than actual experience. About all we knew was that she was married, she and her husband had been IBOs more than once, and they’d been associated with WWDB.

To see if I could find anything about her, I looked again at her website, and in particular the “source code”. I’d done the same thing with Joecool and several other blogs and discovered that they were using the same google adsense code – identifying them as being by the same person. There was one clue on Anna Banana’s website. She had some code called “IP Blocker” that is used to redirect people from certain internet addresses to other websites so they can’t read (or comment) on her website. This is the code -

<script src="http://www.toolator.com/ban/banned/?member=mermaidude" type="text/javascript"></script>

The code had a member ID – “mermaidude”. Could that tell us anything? I went to google.

“mermaidude” isn’t a common internet nickname, indeed it appears to be unique. A review of the (many) links google revealed showed that “mermaidude” has been active a long time on the internet, with interests ranging from geocaching, to recipes, to horses and dogs. There were also three email addresses and a name that kept coming up – Continue reading

Good news for Amway India

In some good news for Amway India and other direct selling companies, it’s been reported that -

“An inter-ministerial committee is expected to come out with regulatory guidelines for direct selling companies by the end of this month”

Amway India and other companies in the market have been suffering from a lack of clear guidelines and the actions of some misguided anti-mlm zealots, particularly in Andhra Pradesh. Amway has been working hard to get clear laws in place. Hopefully things improve!

Boycott Amway?

Most Americans will have been aware in recent days of protests against and support for the restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A after it’s COO came out against gay marriage. Well, today the controversy has spread to Amway, after gay rights activist Fred Karger of Rights Equal Rights discovered that Amway President Doug DeVos has donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an organisation which has organised boycotts of companies that have indicated their support for gay marriage. He has now launched a movement to boycott Amway.

Now, some outlets are currently reporting that Amway made the donation. To be clear, it was not Amway, it was the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, which has no direct connection with Amway Corporation.

What’s my thoughts on this? Well, regularly followers would know that by American standards I’d be considered a “liberal”. I fully support equal rights for gay couples. I’m a former scientist and the science on homosexuality is clear. For the vast majority of people their sexuality is not a “lifestyle choice” and is not something that can be “cured” (or even should be). Homosexuality occurs throughout nature, not just in humans, it’s perfectly “natural”. I used to believe the battle over “gay marriage” was one of semantics that wasn’t worth fighting, let those who believe it has religious connotations have it, and set up equal rights through other arrangements. As I researched further I learned the long history of marriage, and it has very little to do with religion at all. It primarily originated with regard property rights, starting with who owned the females. It’s thankfully evolved a long way since then, but there are still many legal ramifications around property, and unmarried couples – whether gay or not – are discriminated against in many situations. I can see no logical reason why marriage should not be extended to gay couples and to not do so is clearly discrimination.

That’s my personal view, but I also understand other’s perspective on this. I support people’s right to their own opinion, and I support their right to express it. I also support people’s right to protest against companies or individuals who they believe are acting immorally, illegally, or in a discriminatory manner.

Where I think it gets difficult is where individuals support causes they believe in, but companies they are involved with, and others associated with them, take the brunt. Take Chick-Fil-A. Boycotting them doesn’t just damage the owners or COO, but also the individual restaurant owners along with, if a boycott is successful, staff, many of whom may not agree with the COO’s personal views.

I’m an Amway IBO, I absolutely disagree with Doug DeVos’s support for NOM. As an independent Amway business owner a boycott of Amway would mean a boycott of my business.

I can’t speak for Chick-Fil-A, but with Amway the vast majority of the money, indeed profit, from the sale of individual Amway products does not go to Amway, nor the DeVos family, it goes to Amway independent business owners, including people who support gay rights like myself.

So if you like Amway products (and they’re some of the best in the world) and are considering this boycott, ask your Amway rep if they support gay rights. If they don’t, then boycott them and find an Amway business owner that does support gay rights.