You are what the animals eat

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You are what the animals eat?

By Liz O'Neill

More food is coming into our shops with some GM – usually sweets from the US. But there is still not very much, and people write about this in newspapers.

But it is now normal to feed animals with GM food. Most non-organic meat, eggs and dairy in Britain now comes from animals that ate GM soya and maize, mostly grown in Brazil, Argentina and the US. And this GM food was grown with strong chemicals like glyphosate, in Roundup, which probably causes cancer in humans.

These plants will not last long. If you kill weeds with the same two or three pesticides, the weeds that are immune to the pesticides will grow a lot more. And that is happening now, about half of US farms now have ‘superweeds’ that are resistant to Roundup.

So the GM industry have to use a lot more chemicals to kill these.

Research shows that GM farming affects biodiversity. For example GM farming is responsible for the loss of about 90 per cent of the monarch butterfly.

There are a lot of negative impacts, so why are more farms using GM animal feed?

Supermarkets say it’s now difficult to buy products that are definitely GM-free. You can farm organically, but if you don’t, it is getting more difficult to buy GM-free feed in Britain (but they can buy it in Germany).

The answer is in the labels. People who buy the food are worried about GM. The British Food Standards Agency (FSA)’s report in February 2015 showed that people are now more worried than ever before about GM.

Another FSA study showed that two-thirds of people want information about GM on the label. But companies that make food from animals that ate GM food do not have to put this on the label. So most people don’t know they are buying GM almost every time they buy a pint of non-organic milk, or an egg sandwich.

Because buyers do not know this, the companies do not see it as important.

At the moment it is difficult to get completely GM-free non-organic animal food. But it used to be difficult to make a good soya-cappuchino. When customers started demanding coffee with no dairy, coffee shops around the world decided to make the effort to make it.

So here is the answer.

For real choice we need information on the labels. But first, we can all tell the companies that make the food we like (and the supermarkets that sell it) what we think of their attitude to GM animal feed.

There is not enough GM-free animal feed in Britain today. But there must be some farmers who are happy to plant what Tesco and Walmart tell them to.

Liz O’Neill is the director of GM Freeze: @GMFreeze.

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