Organic fed animals no healtheir than GMO fed ones, but gain price premium

Megan Brown sells beef from grass-fed cows, but the Butte County rancher’s choice is motivated more by the higher price she can get for organic beef than worries about the health consequences of eating meat from cows that ate genetically modified grain.

“GE (genetically modified) foods don’t freak me out at all,” said Brown, who works on her family cattle ranch. Brown has toured both organic farms at UC Davis and facilities run by Monsanto, an agricultural bioengineering company that sells genetically modified seeds.

“Each method has its pros and cons,” she said. “I think the majority of people don’t understand the technology behind GE, so they’re afraid of it.”

Her views are supported by a UC Davis study, released earlier this year, that reviewed research in the field and found genetically engineered animal feed poses no significant threat to humans who consume meat or dairy products from the animals.

Until 2013, there was no rule for GMO-free meat labeling. It was that year that Claire Herminjard worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service to set a standard for such labeling. As a result, Herminjard’s Mindful Meats brand became the first to get approval to use non-GMO labeling from the USDA for the meats she sells out of Sonoma and Marin counties.

Herminjard said she thinks the verdict on whether GMOs affect health or not is still out. “We think the science is still early on GMOs,” she said.

The impetus for going with organic feed practices and not with genetically engineered feed? It’s about market dynamics – not health fears.

Read full original articleMarket speaks louder than science: GMO-free animals a good business model

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