|“Don’t worry! I can handle my biotechnology!”|
Riddle me this: Anti-GMO activists always refer to “scientific” studies done on animals eating genetically modified food with horrid results as proof that biotech isn’t safe. Yet, we have never encountered similar side effects or results in animal agriculture. Unlike the claims of tumors in rats, inflamed pig stomachs, or infertile sheep, animal agriculture has not encountered these problems while feeding their animals GMO feed.
So, maybe that makes too much sense and puts the logic completely out of the purview of anti-GMO activists. Besides, we want to rely on peer-reviewed and published studies only; right?
Consider it an early Christmas present – Alison L. Van Eenennaam, a PhD at the University of California – Davis, just put together a review of animal agriculture’s use of biotech in animal feed and found that it has no negative effect. The study is available here (
Note: You have to pay for the full study right now, but I understand it will be available for free in a few months time. You’ll want to bookmark it anyway for future reference.). It is peer reviewed. It is published in a scientific journal. It is an independent study. Its spans over 18 years and multiple generations of livestock.
It ends the debate over the safety of biotech.
Dr. Van Eenennaam realized that for the last 18 years, we have been feeding our livestock genetically modified feed. In fact, the average farm animal’s diet is composed of 70-90% genetically modified feed. That means that when you crunch all the numbers and figure the data, we have served well over a trillion GMO meals to our livestock.
And guess what?
It didn’t hurt them. Consider some of the numbers Dr. Van Eenennaam worked with here:
United States animal agriculture produces over 9 billion food-producing animals annually, and more than 95% of these animals consume feed containing GE ingredients. Data on livestock productivity and health were collated from publicly available sources from 1983, before the introduction of GE crops in 1996, and subsequently through 2011, a period with high levels of predominately GE animal feed. These field data sets representing over 100 billion animals following the introduction of GE crops did not reveal unfavorable or perturbed trends in livestock health and productivity.
(Source: Journal of Animal Science.) How can you possibly counter with that? While the anti-GMO folks are going around making up studies and referring to alleged proof without providing a single citation, Dr. Van Eenennaam just put together the largest amount of data possibly available on this topic.
Like I said, case closed.
But there’s more! If you like a nice helping of meat on your dinner plate, Dr. Van Eenennaam also verified there’s nothing to worry about. The study also concluded:
The authors also found no evidence to suggest any health affect on humans who eat those animals. No study has revealed any differences in the nutritional profile of animal products derived from GE-fed animals. Because DNA and protein are normal components of the diet that are digested, there are no detectable or reliably quantifiable traces of GE components in milk, meat, and eggs following consumption of GE feed.
(Source: Forbes.) That means you can stop wasting your money on organic meat.
Yeah, I know, the anti-GMO crowd will completely ignore this report. But for those of us that are rationale human beings that still possess some level of common sense, this is the ticket. The argument makes sense before you look at the data – our animals are eating GMOs and are perfectly fine generation after generation. Dr. Eenennaam took the time to verify that truth and get it published.
So there you have it – 1 trillion+ meals and we know biotechnology is safe.
Update: I have updated the link to the original study, which is now available free as a PDF. You can also find it in the article and now here.