Genetically Modified feed has negative effects on pig health

Photo Credit: Watt Publishing Photo Credit: Watt Publishing

In a study published in the Journal of Organic Systems, researchers found that feeding pigs Genetically Modified (GM) corn and soy resulted in a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed non-GM diets.  The study, let by Dr. Judy Carman, showed that GM-fed female pigs also had on average a 25% heavier uterus than non-GM-fed females which is a possible indicator of disease.

Dr. Carmen and her colleagues were examining health effects of GM crops, because many GM crops are released into the food supply with multiple GM genes.  For example, it is common for some crops to contain both the GM Bt proteins that are toxic to insects, as well as the GM herbicide tolerant (Ht) genes.  While each single GM gene is tested in isolation, most food regulators do not require studies showing the health safety of these “stacked” genes.  This is an area of concern, because over 37% of GM corn varieties that are currently planted in the US have stacked Ht and Bt genes.

The study concludes that GM crop safety is a matter of uncertainty, and the use of stacked genes in GM crops may have unintended health consequences.  Because pigs have a similar digestive system to people, further studies should investigate if people are also getting digestive problems from eating GM crops.  “Given the widespread use of GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern,” state the authors.