GM Animal Feed: The Hidden GM in Your Trolley
EXTRACT: Professor Bob Orskov OBE, director at the International Feed Resource Unit in Aberdeen, is among those who have warned that the lack of proper testing would justify consumers in avoiding GM-feed derived animal products. "As a scientist, I wouldn't drink milk from cows fed GM maize with the present state of knowledge."
1.GM Animal Feed: The Hidden GM in Your Trolley
Download or print GM Freeze's excellent 2-sided A4 campaigning leaflet here.
Industry claims that GM is safe are not based on independent data. GM DNA from feed gets into animals' blood, so may be present in the food we eat - but is anyone testing to find it? Independent studies raise questions about:
*GM damaging animals' guts
*GM lowering food nutritional content
*GM causing problems in immune systems
*GM impairing the fertility of mice
Damages the environment
More and more evidence shows:
*GM has resulted in chemical-resistant "superweeds" that even the GM industry admit need older, more dangerous methods to control.
*Pesticide residues in GM animal feed are not monitored, so we don't know what is being eaten. We do know the maximum legal limit in food for weedkiller Roundup was raised by 200% when GM soya come on the market.
*Native species of maize in Mexico are now contaminated with GM, even though growing GM maize is banned there.
There is another way
The Austrian Government wants to phase out GM animal feed. In Switzerland biotech companies, not consumers, pay to segregate GM. Brazil alone grows more than enough non-GM soya to feed all Europe's humans and animals without cutting down any more rainforest, and non-GM maize is grown in the EU. Due to the rising cost of imported feed, many farmers are reviewing the ways they feed their livestock, such as feeding cows on grass and clover mixes.
So your supermarket can and should insist that the dairy products, meat, fish and eggs you buy are produced without GM crops and back this up with clear GM-Free labels.
Tell them to ditch GM once and for all.
The leaflet has supermarket addresses and a helpful model letter.
You can also order free hardcopies of this visually striking leaflet from:
Eve Mitchell <eveATgmfreeze.org>
c/o Rose Cottage
The Black Isle
For more about GM Freeze:
If you, like most people, don't want to eat GM foods, you may be surprised to learn that millions of tons of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are going into producing the food we eat.
These are the stealth GMOs whose presence in the food chain is carefully concealed. And here is how the trick is pulled.
Because people around the world don't want to eat GM foods, hardly any GM ingredients are going directly into foods that have to be labelled or that can easily be boycotted by consumers.
In the USA, where most GM crops are grown, GM ingredients don't have to be labelled. As a result, GM ingredients are going into highly processed US foods where they are hard to identify. More recently, the Bush administration's big subsidies for biofuels, and particularly corn (maize) ethanol, means GMOs have also been used for fuel, avoiding direct consumer contact.
But this is not where most GM crops are going. They're being traded around the world in a way that's almost entirely hidden from consumers, including consumers in Europe. Although GM ingredients that go directly into food products have to be labelled in the European Union, there is a way of directing GMOs to consumers that cannot easily be identified.
Animal feed is the only large-scale outlet for GM crops in Europe. This is because animal feed can be bulk traded, making it harder to trace. And because of a loophole in the European Union’s GM food labelling laws, the meat, dairy products and eggs produced with GM animal feed do not have to be labelled as such, creating a complete lack of transparency. So, animal feed means GMOs are getting into the human food chain through the back door.
Because of this, despite the availability of plentiful supplies of GM-free farm animal feed, our meat, eggs, and dairy products are being contaminated by stealth GMOs.
And scientific studies show that these stealth GMOs could have important health implications.
Milk and meat from GM-fed animals may be less healthy
Laboratory studies designed to assess adverse health effects show that GM feed can disturb various bodily functions and make animals sick. In addition, anecdotal reports from some farmers also suggest that animals fed GM crops can suffer serious detrimental effects. Health studies with farm animals have been limited in scope, and definitive scientific research badly needs to be done.
Studies show that GM DNA in animal feed can be taken up by an animal's organs. This means organ function and health could be affected. Scientific studies indicate that some GM DNA even appears in milk and animal tissues consumed as food.
GM food DNA is released during digestion and can be taken up by gut bacteria. Because many GM crops contain antibiotic-resistant genes, there is a risk that superbugs will be created, i.e. bacteria that cannot be controlled by antibiotics.
What is most shocking is that the potential problems of GM animal feed have been known about right from the start. In 1992, when America's Food and Drug Administration was considering how to regulate GM foods, Gerald B. Guest, the FDA official in charge of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, warned:
"Animal feed derived from genetically modified plants presents unique animal and food safety concerns. These concerns arise partly because one crop field corn supplies 50 to 75% of the diet of most domestic animals, so small changes in nutrient levels from genetic engineering can have large effects on animal health. The antibiotic resistance marker genes contained in most crops would likely make animals resistant to some antibiotics, especially neomycin, which is used in animal feed. Furthermore, toxicant residues from transgenic crops could end up in meat and milk products and may pose human food safety problems."
Nearly two decades later, few studies have been done on the health implications for farm animals and those who eat animal products. And Professor Bob Orskov OBE, director at the International Feed Resource Unit in Aberdeen, is among those who have warned that the lack of proper testing would justify consumers in avoiding GM-feed derived animal products. "As a scientist, I wouldn't drink milk from cows fed GM maize with the present state of knowledge," Prof Orskov told a public enquiry.
There are also important ethical considerations that arise from stealth GMOs.
Unethical treatment of animals
As GM feed can harm the health of animals, the use of GM feed should be considered unethical.
Lack of transparency for consumers
It is an outrage that consumers are not properly informed that they may be eating milk, eggs and meat from GM-fed animals. This represents a denial of choice.
In spite of this, the European Commission continues to approve GM crops for use as food and animal feed (more than 24 crops to date), and the GM industry continues to lobby to change the GM regulations even further in their favour.
But we can do something about it. If we want to protect our health and that of our families, or if we care about the treatment of animals, we need to take action.
Supermarkets need to understand that consumers do not want meat, dairy products and eggs produced from GM feed. They need to get GM feed out of their production lines and to clearly label their products as GM-free so consumers can have confidence in what they are buying.
Take action now to stop stealth GMOs.
For more on the science behind the concerns over GM food safety: