Mar 29, 2015 09:41 PM EDT
The debate over genetically modified feed for livestock intended for human consumption has been raging for over a decade. Supporters say the feed is engineered to deliver optimum nutrient and vitamin sources to the animal with minimal effect. Those against using genetically engineered products argue that altering the natural order of nature is bound to cause health issues for either the animals being fed, or to the humans who consume meat that has been raised on this feed.
A study published by Animal Science Publications on November 20th of last years says that the health risks are relatively low to non-existent. The study utilized information from 1983 (prior to the introduction of genetically modified feed) through 2011, and is very detailed regarding how animals responded to the altered products.
The study notes that in the US, "more than 95% of these animals consume feed containing GE ingredients." This refers to animals being raised for human consumption. The figure changes some when the entire world is taken into account, as "food-producing animals consume 70 to 90% of genetically engineered (GE) crop biomass."
This indicates that if you purchase meat in the US, you're most likely eating an animal that was raised on genetically engineered feed.
One of the most popular feed ingredients in the GE world is Monsanto's Round-Up Ready variety, which touts the ability to be sprayed with roundup, allowing farmers to kill off weeds in their fields without harming their crop. NBC News quoted a recent report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, where Round-Up was cited as a possible cause for alarm. The report said that glyphosate, which is the main active ingredient in Round-Up, is "classified as probably carcinogenic to humans."
According to the US government, glyphosate is safe for use on food products for humans, but the debate surrounding GE foods has become front page news for some areas. In Vermont, the first law requiring the labeling of GE foods was passed just last year. If such a law were passed nationwide then end users would at least be free to choose whether they wanted to consume genetically modified food or not.
What do you think about genetically engineered food? Are the benefits to farmers who can now spray crops with weed killer without dying worth the possible risks to humans who consume the end product? Give your opinion in the comments below.
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