London (17.12.14) – an important paper from the University of California at Davis hammers a very large nail into the coffin of those who claim that GM-foods have untoward effects.

No matter that consumption of such foods by hundreds of millions of North Americans for close on twenty years has failed to reveal; a single substantiated case of medical harm, not even a sneeze, a point put by David Aaron, a former US commerce undersecretary for trade a decade ago and true ever since (1).

The new study (2) points out that globally food-producing animals consume 70-90% of genetically modified crop biomass. (And, in contrast to any existing human diet, those animals consume a high proportion of GM-products in their diets.) In a review of the scientific literature on performance and health of animals consuming feed containing GE ingredients and composition of products derived from them. numerous experimental studies have consistently revealed that the performance and health of GM-fed animals are comparable with those fed isogenic non-GM crop lines. U.S. animal agriculture produces over 9 billion food-producing animals annually, and more than 95% of these animals consume feed containing GE ingredients.

Field data on livestock productivity and health were collated from publicly available sources from 1983, before the introduction of GM-crops in 1996, and subsequently to 2011, a period with high levels of predominately GM-animal feed. Over 100 billion animals were involved following the introduction of GM-feed but the data sets failed to reveal any unfavourable or perturbed trends in livestock health and productivity. No study has revealed any differences in the nutritional profile of animal products derived from GM-fed animals.

So can we accept those conclusions or do we need more information? Some anti-GM activists are not happy with the California conclusions but support their own reading with reference to a number of publications not highly regarded by the scientific community (3). Readers can reach their own conclusions.

Sources:

1. Joseph Perkins (22.6.01). The Luddites are coming! The Luddites are coming!
- Those who are blind to the fruits of progress
. San Diego Union Tribune (http://www.agbioworld.org/newsletter_wm/index.php?caseid=archive&newsid=1098)

2. A. L. Van Eenennaam and A. E. Young (2014). Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations. Journal of Animal Science, 92(10), 4255-4278 (http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/92/10/4255.long).

3. Van Eenennaam study marred by bias and scientific. shortcomings. GM Watch (3.10.14) (http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2014/15677-van-eenennaam-study-marred-by-bias-and-scientific-shortcomings)



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  The safety of feeding GM fodder to livestock is clear