Plant fibers containing xylose or xylan are usually used as raw material for the production of xylitol. They can come from hardwoods (usually beech) or corn, for example. Wood alone can’t meet the global demand, so corn is often used as well. In China, for example, xylitol is only made using xylose derived from corn.
Genetically modified corn is not grown for human consumption in most countries in the world – excluding USA and Argentina. In China, where some of our raw material comes from, the cultivation of genetically modified corn was banned until the end of 2014. Our xylitol suppliers assure us that the cultivation of genetically modified corn has no place in the production of xylitol because all the corn comes from contracted farmers who obtain their seeds from the supplier in order to ensure consistent quality. These seeds are not genetically modified.
The major Chinese xylitol suppliers have long-term contracts with their farmers or have the corn grown at their own expense. That way they have maximum control over the seeds and the quality. All the major producers of xylitol are certified according to European standards (DIN 9001 and 14001). They supply to numerous companies in the food and pharmaceutical industries worldwide. The certificates could theoretically be forged, but we of course verify their authenticity with the issuing body, SGS (http://www.sgsgroup.de), not with the suppliers.
Thousands of tons (!) of xylitol are produced in China. No supplier can afford to lose customers due to invalid certification or deficient quality. Germany has become an interesting market for the Chinese as the demand is steadily increasing.
We trust our Chinese suppliers, however we don’t want to make any compromises. We promise our customers that we will stop selling Chinese xylitol the moment that genetically modified corn starts being used for its production. In mid-July 2012, we already began selling only Xucker Light (erythritol) of European origin, from the third-largest supplier in the world. It is made from European corn which is certified as non-GMO.
Xylitol is a very pure end product. After comprehensive, multi-step filtration, it contains no detectable traces of pesticides. The lowest quality xylitol is about 98.5% pure, and the highest quality (including Xucker) has a purity of over 99.5%. The miniscule impurities are traces of various sugar alcohols. Other foreign substances, such as salts etc., are scarcely detectable at all.
That means that even if a supplier did produce xylitol from genetically modified plant material, no one could prove it without testing the source plants because the final xylitol is free of the protein components that could be used to test for genetic engineering. So xylitol is nonhazardous to your health in this respect as well – guaranteed.