Government adviser Dr Judy Carman, Associate Professor at the School of the Environment. Flinders University. South Australia, an epidemiologist and biochemist and director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research in Adelaide, is the lead researcher of a study published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Organic Systems .
An Australian site reports:
“The study was conducted over 22.7 weeks using 168 newly weaned pigs in a commercial US piggery. One group of 84 ate a diet that incorporated genetically modified (GM) soy and corn, and the other group of 84 pigs ate an equivalent non-GM diet. According to the study, the corn and soy feed was obtained from commercial suppliers and the pigs were reared under identical housing and feeding conditions. The pigs were then slaughtered roughly five months later and autopsied by veterinarians who were not informed which pigs were fed on the GM diet and which were from the control group.
“Researchers say there were no differences seen between pigs fed the GM and non-GM diets for feed intake, weight gain, mortality, and routine blood biochemistry measurements.
“But those pigs that ate the GM diet had a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation – 32 per cent of GM-fed pigs compared to 12 per cent of non-GM-fed pigs. The inflammation was worse in GM-fed males compared to non-GM fed males by a factor of 4.0, and GM-fed females compared to non-GM-fed females by a factor of 2.2. As well, GM-fed pigs had uteri that were 25 percent heavier than non-GM fed pigs.”
The researchers say more long-term animal feeding studies need to be done. Dr Carman: “We need to investigate if people are also getting digestive problems from eating GM crops.”
The Iowa-based farmer said: ‘For as long as GM crops have been in the feed supply, we have seen increasing digestive and reproductive problems in animals. Now it is scientifically documented. In some cases, animals eating GM crops are very aggressive. This is not surprising, given the scale of stomach irritation and inflammation now documented.’
The Mail comments: The research is significant because the digestive system and organs of pigs are similar to those of humans, who eat the pork from the animals.
The Biotechnology Industry Organisation’s quoted reaction: ‘This study was authored by anti-biotech campaigners. Hundreds of independent studies found no difference between animals fed GM or non-GM diets.’