Study proves: No scientific reason to expand GMO labeling
Brussels/Berlin/Helsinki – Germany’s and Finnland’s agriculture ministers have announced they would like to expand the current labelling of genetically modified (GM) food to eggs, milk and meat from animals fed with GM crops. However, a new study, ordered by the European Commission from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma in March now says there is no scientific evidence to prove that this is reasonable.
“Consumers must have the right to know how, and with what sort of feed, meat is produced”, said Finnish Agriculture Minister Sirkka-Liisa Anttilahat, upon the recent announcement from two Finnish meat producers that they will be importing animal feed containing GM soybeans for the first time. But while Anttilahat called upon the food industry to implement such a label voluntarily, his German collegue, Horst Seehofer, stressed in August that he will establish new labelling rules by autumn with a new decree for foodstuffs. The label “Without genetic engineering” is part of new regulations on genetic engineering, which had come under heavy fire from biotech industry organisations, who are lobbying for a more industry-compatible solution.
No hint of GMO traces
The EFSA has now ruled out that there is no scientific evidence to support the assumption that transgenic DNA or proteins might occur in the cells or tissue of animals fed with transgenic feed – the cells are ultimately GMO-free, much like their organic or conventional counterparts. In the evaluation of whether any transmission of GM parts into animal products had occured, every significant scientific paper available on the subject was screened. They found out that heterologous proteins and DNA are almost completely digested upon passage through the gastro-intestinal tract. “In agreement with the more than 100 animal studies available to date, the results show no significant differences in the nutritional value of feeds from GM plants of the first generation in comparison with non-GMP varieties”, the EFSA conclude. “To date, no fragments of recombinant DNA have been found in any organ or tissue sample from animals fed on GMP.”
Furthermore, a special study titled “Safety of Meat, Milk, and Eggs from Animals Fed Crops Derived from Modern Biotechnology” conducted by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) in 2006, found no hints for an DNA transfer to the products.
Studies with GMO-fed dairy cattle, growing calves, broiler chickens and swine gave no hint of the presence of recombinant proteins in products and tissues. And even highly sensitive detection methods, such as PCR or southern blots, did not indicate the presence of recombinant DNA fragments. The only exception observed might be due to sample contamination. Researchers found 100 bp DNA fragments of the cryA1b and cp4epsps genes in milk samples from animals fed with transgenic feed as well as in animals receiving organic feed.