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 nonGMO 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.

13 thoughts on “Does Amway or Nutrilite use GMO crops?”

  1. Most of these argument are stupid. Thus far, there is no internationally-recognized position on the safety of genetically modified foods, and no authoritative evidence that these foods produce toxins when ingested by humans. However, studies showed laboratory animals have suffered severe abnormalities, including sudden death, from ingesting genetically-altered soybeans.

  2. Yes even I read that article and laughed out loud !! Of course some competition tried to instill in people that Nutrilite is GMO therefore bad to consume. And imho, if you feel better AFTER taking it [I can vouch for that] and not so AFTER STOPPING it – it means you have a deficiency that it was filling – as simple as that. And the BSM material I have from Amway India it is clearly stated that Protein powder is made from NON-GMO Soy grown by Nutrilite. I have a sorted Excel sheet of testimonials from many NON-IBOs who have had significant improvement in their lives thanks to Nutrilite and I can share it with you ibofightback.

  3. Thank you for this article. I use Nutrilite products and am trying eliminate any with GMO in the ingredients.
    Do you know what the phrase “or IP with a recombinant DNA threshold of 0.9%” means? What does IP stand for?

    What do they mean by the exception “of flavors, and subcomponents with no function or presence in the final formula”.

    It seems strange to cite exceptions that are not used in the “final formula”. Or are they saying they do use them in their processing of Nutrilite products? Are you aware if such exceptions are explicitly identified?

    1. Given the amounts they’re talking about (less than 1%) I suspect it’s because it may be very difficult to impossible to ensure there’s zero contamination through the entire supply chain, so the guideline allows for this.

  4. Hi there. I just wanted to make a few corrections to your post.

    Farming and genetic engineering (the process which leads to “GMOs)” are not actually the same thing. Cross breeding plants, such as the process used to “create” the common garden /grocery store strawberry, is not the same as implanting genetic code into another species. Strawberries exist in nature, and it was by cross breeding two existing species of strawberries ( Fragaria virginiana with Fragaria chiloensis) that led to Fragaria × ananassa. The organisms in question much be genetically compatible enough to reproduce naturally and produce offspring. The offspring itself may not be able to reproduce, or at least it is very rare (like a mule), or it may (like garden strawberries). Genetic engineering is taking genetic material from a species generally re-productively incompatible with another and inserting it directly into the other genetic code. For example, never ever ever would a tomato plant have sex with a fish and produce offspring, and yet through genetic modification we now have fish tomatoes. Since your blog is attempting to provide truth, I don’t want its credibility to be undermined by a misunderstanding around genetic engineering. It’s a common mistake, so thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify for your readers. Even with this description, I’m still simplifying, so I would strongly encourage readers to do a bit of research. It’s fascinating stuff.

    It is also important to note that “organic” doesn’t mean “good for you.” Arsenic is organic and naturally, but I won’t be ingesting large quantities of that any time soon. : ) Mass produced food companies have attempted many different methods to overcame competitiveness in a flooded market. I wouldn’t be surprised if any company used additives to increase their appeal to their audiences. MSG, for example, has a reputation as an additive or “flavor-enhancer” that makes food more addictive.

    Thanks for your blog!

    1. Hi Jayme,

      You are of course technically correct – the term “genetically modified organism” as used today relates to those created/modified directly using bioengineering. I (and many others) would argue that hybridization through farming is a form of primitive genetic engineering, just far less sophisticated! Either way, it’s a semantics issue. The point is that “gmo” isn’t inherently dangerous, and, as you point out “organic” isn’t inherently good, or even safe, either. (If we’re talking semantics though, in the US “organic” strictly speaking refers only to the (non) use of artificial chemicals in aspects of farming!)

      1. Why do people always try to use the semantics argument when ever someone tries to go to the heart of the matter? Genetic engineering is a new term, design to describe a new process of directly trying to temper with DNA. It did not existed before; there was no primitive generic engineering; it was farming

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