Genetically modified organism; it’s a very polarizing term. To some, the idea of altering the gene structure of plants and animals is unsettling, evoking an image of science experiments gone wrong. Others see responsible genetic modification as a continuation of the husbandry and horticulture that began thousands of years ago with selective breeding and the more recent development of variation breeding (think seedless fruit).
A quick Google search shows plenty of fodder on both sides of the fence, only muddying a valid question that some producers have on their minds: do we want production animals eating non-GMO food or are there certain strains of feed that are safe? Here are some insights for anyone trying to get informed answers fast.
As it stands, most livestock feed ingredients come from genetically modified origins. The FDA finds that the majority of feed corn or soybeans destined for animal feed are from GMO stock. For corn, the adjustments have helped the plant develop greater resistance to harmful insects that cause damage while remaining completely safe for humans, animals and even beneficial insects like ladybugs to consume or come into contact with. And most GMO soybeans are adjusted so that they are more resistant to herbicides, increasing yields without tainting the crop.
But what about the long-term effects? Nature can be unpredictable, so how can we be sure that the intended harmlessness of genetically modified organisms is what actually happens? A variety of EU studies across countries have explored the health impact of genetically modified food. In a review of that literature, there was no clear evidence of adverse health effects from GMO feed ingredient sources when fed to cattle, swine or poultry.
In the United States, there seems to be no obvious signs of negative health risks to animals that eat genetically modified feed ingredients either. For example, most U.S. poultry farmers have fed their chickens modified field corn and soybeans since the 1990s without a spike in mortality rate. In fact, research from the National Chicken Council shows a dip in chicken mortality (which at best shows correlation, not causation).
With GMOs essentially harmless to livestock, the most important consideration for producers is to find feed ingredients that elevate the nutritional intake of your livestock. Producers need to seek out nutritious feed ingredients that offer the biggest bang for their buck. Whether you’re okay with GMOs or you’re still a little skeptical of GMO feed ingredients, all-natural seaweed feed ingredients are a fantastic ingredient choice.
Across species, livestock feeds containing seaweed are a cost-effective way to provide your production animals with a variety of nutrients and health benefits:
Want to learn more about the value and benefits of your production animals eating nutrient dense food? Contact Tasco® to learn about our all-natural seaweed feed supplements.