London (21.02.17) – More than once (1. 2), we have emphasised the absence of convincing evidence that a diet of GM-products has any adverse effect of animal health.

Coming across a paper published some years ago, we can once more reiterate that conclusion. A group of scientists from France and the UK reviewed the whole field in long-term (up to two years) and multigenerational (two to five generations). Once more the findings fail to indicate dangers from a diet of GM-fodders (3).

In twelve long term health studies and twelve multi-generational ones, the authors examined data reporting on the effects of diets containing GM maize, potato, soybean, rice and triticale from the perspectives of biochemistry, the histology of specific organs, haematology and the detection of transgenic DNA. The statistical findings and methods from each study were scrutinised.

The findings from all 24 studies failed to suggest any health hazards and, in general,
there were no statistically significant differences within observed parameters. Such small variations as were observed fell within the normal variation range of the particular parameter and thus had no biological or toxicological significance.

The authors suggest that, if required, a 90-day feeding study performed in rodents, according to the OECD Test Guideline, is generally sufficient for evaluating the health effects of GM-feed. Having reviewed all the available evidence, they confirmed that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely used in food and feed.

Guess how long we will have to wait until the next scare story appears, “backed” by dubious “evidence”, claiming that all our farm animals are at risk if farmers continue to use GM-based fodder?

But more terrors lurk in the background for thoseafraid of GM: a team of researchers from the Northwest A&F University in China have used gene-editing technology to produce transgenic cattle with increased resistance to bovine tuberculosis (4). Does that count as GM-cows?

Sources:

1. Still not sufficient? CropGen (11.09.14) (http://www.cropgen.org/article_545.html)

2. The safety of feeding GM fodder to livestock is clear. CropGen (17.12.14) (http://www.cropgen.org/article_557.html)

3. Chelsea Snell, Aude Bernheim Jean-Baptiste Bergé, Marcel Kuntz, Gérard Pascal,
Alain Paris and Agnès E. Ricroch. Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding trials: A literature review. Food and Chemical Toxicology (2012) 50 (2012) 1134–1148 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399)

4. Helen Briggs (01.02.17). 'Tuberculosis-resistant' cattle developed in China. BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38810073)

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  Animals and GM fodder