Whilst not attracting as much attention as genetically modified (GM) food ingredients, debate over GMOs in animal feed has long been simmering, and making sensationalist claims on the (allegedly negative) impact of GM feed on animal health is a favourite campaign tactic of anti-GM crusaders.
A new, peer-reviewed scientific analysis published by the University of California, Davis, Journal of Animal Science, ‘Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations’, delivers yet another scientific blow to the anti-GM crusaders’ claims.
In one of the most comprehensive analyses of published scientific papers on animals fed GM crops, the study concludes that GM feeds are safe, and finds that animals fed GM crops show no indication of adverse health effects.
The analysis adds to the considerable weight of studies that have been conducted into the safety of GM feeds over the years. However, this study is particularly significant due to size of the analysis. The authors, Alison Van Eenennaam, and A. E. Young, analysed data pertaining to more than 100 billion animals which had been fed large amounts of GM crops over the past 14 years.
Summarising publically-available datasets from the USDA of animal health and productivity, the author looked at data for the decade after 2000, a period in which billions of animals were fed diets containing large quantities of GM feeds, and compared it with data from prior to 1994, when GM crops were first introduced.
Deriving data from broilers (chicken), dairy cattle, beef cattle and swine which had been examined before and after slaughter by USDA inspectors and veterinarians, the study concludes that there was no evidence of reduced performance or increased adverse health in the animals that had been fed GM feed.
It’s quite simple. If claims by anti-GM activists of tumors or animal mortality were true, it would be reasonable to conclude that this would be apparent to large animal producers that carefully monitor feed consumption and animal performance. Animals that are sick or stressed would have poor performance and feed efficiency (feed per gain). This study categorically proves otherwise.
Given that the anti GMO activists are not prone to listening to the science, we’re sure this study won’t entirely quell their fear-mongering, but for those of us who prefer to make our decisions based on solid evidence, this is a very comprehensive analysis that puts to bed any doubts on the safety of GM animal feed.