Ask Us Anything About GMOs!

Q:
- Reposted to this section of the forum from another thread so as to include a specific category - The list of funding partners for this web site clearly indicates the kind of answers we are most likely to see here. They can only be slanted in favor of GMO's and their continued production. I am an organic farmer. I do not raise corn or beans in mass quantities like the majority of farmers in these parts. I raise vegetables and fruits. However, I do raise a few rows of organically grown corn along the woodland borders of my fields in order to process the grain into a feed supplement for my chickens and a few head of beef. I have watched and documented deer walking down from the woodland on the opposite side of my property, THROUGH the GMO fields my neighbor has planted, to get to organic corn on my land. I have watched and documented squirrels at a feeder completely ignore an ear of GMO corn in favor of my organically grown corn. If I fail to provide an organic ear to replace the one they have eaten, they still do not touch the GMO ear; in fact, they move on to another location altogether. Even the raccoons will not eat GMO corn, and they can and will eat just about anything. Just to be sure this wasn't a seasonal anomaly, I set up two winter feeders for the birds with the same results. I fed 21 pounds of ground organic corn through one feeder and never once through the entire winter had to refill the feeder containing the ground GMO corn. I realize this is not a stringently controlled laboratory experiment, but it sure speaks volumes to me. When it comes to food, the wild animals consume organic and eschew the GMO's to the point of moving on in search of something that suits them better. How do you explain the preference for organic and how they are able to tell the difference between GMO's and real food?
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A:Expert Answer

I see your curiosity here, and I share your interest. We have investigated GM maize, and our studies demonstrated a different observation than you had. The basic design of these studies is a comparison between livestock fed diets containing GM or non-GM maize. We use performance indicators, like overall weight, average daily gain and milk production in the case of dairy cows, to gauge the nutritional equivalence of the GM and non-GM feed. These performance indicators also are a good measure of palatability, because if the animals don't like the feed, they won't eat as well and then wouldn't be as healthy or perform as well. In the numerous controlled feeding studies we've conducted, and in those conducted by others, no health or performance differences have been detected. (Here are two examples of feeding studies in dairy cattle and beef cattle).

 

We believe following the scientific method is the best way to ask and then answer questions like this one. This method includes making observations, and designing and conducting experiments, in a manner that minimizes the potential for bias. It is important for the experiment to be a fair test, changing only one factor and keeping all other conditions the same. The interpretation of the outcome has to be something that can be supported through carefully crafted experimentation and observation. Knowing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations, we must use standard procedures and criteria to help minimize those influences.

Topic: Safety, Health, and Nutrition  8 Comments | Add Comment