According to a study of over 100 billion animals, including nine billion broilers annually, genetically engineered (GE) crops were found to be safe to feed to livestock. The study, published in Science Review, included data from 1983, before GE crops, to 2011 and found improved feed-to-gain ratios and decreased age to market.
Researcher Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam found no rise in tumors and decreased rates of post-mortem condemnation. This observation “suggests that feeding GE crops did not have any detrimental effects to the birds’ health,” she said.
According to a report in Poultry Times, Dr. Van Eenennaam called on more consistent regulatory approvals of GE crops, explaining that ‘asynchronous’ adoption of newly developed crops is an “increasing problem” hampering trade. She described “asynchronous regulatory approval” as, “considerable discrepancies in the amount of time required to review and approve new GE crops in different countries.” She added, “This leads to a situation where GE crops may be cultivated and marketed in some countries and remain unapproved in others.”
On a national level, the paper said this resulted in major environmental, economic, and food safety benefits which have propelled GE crops to being, “the fastest adopted crop technology in recent history.” It was not possible to see differences in nutritional profiles after consumption of GE feed, the report added. Looking ahead, the paper warned that “there is a pressing need for international harmonization for both regulatory frameworks for GE crops and governance of advanced breeding techniques to prevent widespread disruptions in international trade of livestock feedstuffs.”