LOS ANGELES – Here are the conclusions taken from the 2014 University of California, Davis study on GMOs and animal health:
Commercial livestock populations are the largest consumers of GE crops, and globally, billions of animals have been eating GE feed for almost 2 decades. An extensive search of peer-reviewed literature and field observations of animals fed diets containing GE crop products have revealed no unexpected perturbations or disturbing trends in animal performance or health indicators. Likewise, it is not possible to distinguish any differences in the nutritional profile of animal products following consumption of GE feed.
Animal agriculture is currently highly dependent on GE feed sources, and global trade of livestock feed is largely supplied by countries that have approved the cultivation of GE crops. Supplying non-GE-fed animal products is likely to become increasingly expensive given the expanding global planting of GE crops and the growing number of countries that raise them. The market for animals that have not consumed GE feed is currently a niche market in the United States, although such products are available to interested consumers via voluntary process-based marketing programs.
The cost of these products is higher than conventionally produced products due to both the higher cost of non-GE feed and the costs associated with certifying the absence of GE crops in the production process and product segregation. There is currently a pipeline of so-called “second generation” GE crops with improved output traits for livestock production. Their approval will further complicate the sourcing of non-GE feedstuffs.
Additionally, recent developments in techniques to induce precise genetic changes in targeted genes offer both tremendous opportunities and a challenge for global regulatory oversight. Given these developments, there is an urgent need for international harmonization of both regulatory frameworks for GE crops and governance of advanced breeding techniques to prevent widespread disruptions in international trade of livestock feedstuffs in the future.