Scientific studies have detected no differences in the nutritional makeup of foods derived from animals that ate genetically engineered crops, according to a recent review.
The review also finds that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed.
Led by University of California, Davis, animal scientist Alison Van Eenennaam, the work examines nearly 30 years of livestock-feeding studies that represent more than 100 billion animals.
The findings will appear in print and open-access in the Journal of Animal Science.
Genetically engineered crops were first introduced in 1996. Today, 19 genetically engineered plant species are approved for use in the United States, including the major crops used extensively in animal feed: alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, soybean, and sugar beet.
Food-producing animals such as cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and other poultry species now consume 70 to 90 percent of all genetically engineered crops, according to the review.
In the US alone, 9 billion food-producing animals are raised annually and 95 percent of them consume feed that contains genetically engineered ingredients.
RED TAPE AND FOOD LABELS
“Studies have continually shown that the milk, meat, and eggs derived from animals that have consumed GE feed are indistinguishable from the products derived from animals fed a non-GE diet,” Van Eenennaam says.
“Therefore, proposed labeling of animal products from livestock and poultry that have eaten GE feed would require supply-chain segregation and traceability, as the products themselves would not differ in any way that could be detected.”
Now that a second generation of genetically engineered crops that have been optimized for feeding livestock is on the horizon, there is a pressing need to internationally harmonize the regulatory framework for these products, she says.
“To avoid international trade disruptions, it is critical that the regulatory approval process for genetically engineered products be established in countries importing these feeds at the same time that regulatory approvals are passed in the countries that are major exporters of animal feed,” Van Eenennaam says.
The W.K. Kellogg endowment and the California Agricultural Experiment Station of UC Davis supported the review study.
Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations1, Published on Journal 《ASAS》in May 28, 2014.