GMO Pig Study Released, Refuted

This week a new study purporting to show that feeding biotech corn and soybeans cause stomach inflammation gets attention, but industry calls for closer look.

Published on: Jun 12, 2013

It's another week and another attempt to debunk the safety of biotech-enhanced feed and food. This time it is research conducted by an Australian researcher and an Iowa farmer, and while the research says it shows there are questions about safety of the new-tech crops, an industry group disagrees.

The study, which claims to be longer term than the average feeding study, showed an increase in stomach inflammation, and uterus weight, for pigs fed a diet with biotech corn and soybeans. Most of the corn fed, according to the study, contained biotech traits from Monsanto.

Anti-biotech groups are already pushing out their version of the study, though BIO, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, points out that a closer look at the research shows more pigs fed non-GMO feed had inflamed stomachs than pigs fed the GM feed. The researchers note that there was no difference in feed intake by pigs in either group - to a pig corn is corn and soybeans are soybeans.

GMO FEED QUESTIONED: New study takes aim at biotechnology in swine feed diets, but industry questions conclusions.
GMO FEED QUESTIONED: New study takes aim at biotechnology in swine feed diets, but industry questions conclusions.

The only difference in the groups - and this was a small sample - is that the rate of "severe" inflammation was higher in pigs fed non-GM feed. However, given the small sample this would need further investigation.

The advocacy group Consumers Union issued a statement saying that it has "long been concerned about the impact of GE crops and things these effects are a red flag and deserve further study," in a press statement. "We also believe this study underlines the need for labeling of GE food, since there is still much to learn about their health effects."

BIO notes, however, that this study "published in an obscure online journal" reaches conclusions that are "diametrically opposed to the great preponderance of the scientific evidence gathered over hundreds of independent food and feed safety studies."

The organization adds that in reporting observations that pigs fed GMOs had severely inflamed stomaches, "the authors note that pigs fed non-GMO diets also had inflamed stomaches, but failed to mention in their conclusion that there were more pigs with inflamed stomachs that had eaten non-GMO diet. Such inflammation is common in animals with high feed intake or feed that has been finely ground."

The study will get wide attention, and already has on websites like Huffington Post and others that report anti-GM information regularly. The links above include access to the original report that you can check out for yourself.

Stay informed, here's what other news outlets are reporting:

Monsanto rounds up some perspective on the topic

Fox News: Scientists say new study shows pig health hurt by GMO feed

Huffington Post: GMO Feed Left Pigs with HIgher Stomach Inflammation, Study Reports

Huffington Post - The Blog - Damning New Study Demonstrates Harm to Animals Raised on GMO Feed

GMO Pundit - Pigs in the real world...

The Examiner: Genetically modified organisms shown to cause organ damage in new study

Mark Lynas Blog - GMO Pig Study, More Junk Science