Last year we switched to a GMO-free feed for our chickens and pigs.  It’s more expensive, but we wanted to be able to offer eggs and pork from animals that had not lived on a GMO diet, and we preferred not to contribute to Monsanto’s profits.

I expected that we might see a drop in production, but the result was just the opposite. The hens laid more eggs and the pigs grew faster on the non-GMO feed.  In hindsight, I should not have been surprised.

Last summer (after we’d made the switch) a report came out linking GMO feed to increased rates of stomach inflammation in pigs.  The study was controversial of course and its conclusions are hotly disputed by the industry.

But now at least one producer of GMO-free animal feed in the Midwest is reporting that some large confinement hog operations are switching to GMO-free feed to avoid reproductive system problems that they’re linking to the GMO grain.

These days 98% of the GMO soybeans and 40-50% of the GMO corn grown in the U.S. is used as animal feed.  With glyphosate-resistant superweeds already rapidly destroying the benefit of GMO seed, a move by the CAFO operators from GMO to non-GMO feed would be a major blow to the GMO industry.

They don’t seem to have any trouble getting it into the feed we humans eat. But if it starts hitting the bottom line in the pig factories, that may cause changes no ballot initiative has yet been able to accomplish.


11 comments on “GMO-Free

  1. Kitchen-Counter-Culture says:

    I feel strongly about genetic engineering from the point of view of consolidate ownership of our food supply. Lots of people object on the basis of health concerns. Your postings on GMO are very interesting, as much of an insider’s view as I’ve seen, and I think would be very interesting to people who are on the fence and believe the debate to be too ideologically skewed. I wonder if you would consider tagging them all, maybe “GMO” or whatever, so that they could be “collected” and shared. They are very thoughtful and thought provoking pieces. Just to give you another task….. Thanks for your writings1


  2. shoreacres says:

    I just happened across this article yesterday. Had I not been reading your blog, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it.

    Lovely, how we now have a “Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food”. How ironic that even such lobbying groups can’t be judged by their label any more. Accept such a label at face value, and you may end up contributing to something you’re unalterably opposed to.


    • Bill says:

      That article is so loaded with hooey I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t advocate for labeling requirements as long as GMO-free products are free to say so, but the allegation that labeling would increase the cost of food is just a lie. And to say it would increase the cost of food by 15-30% makes it a particularly preposterous lie. The cost of labeling would be virtually nil. The reason they don’t want to label is because consumers have overwhelmingly said they do not want to eat GMOs. If the label said “may contain genetically modified organisms” then sales would drop. That’s the bottom line and they’d have a lot more credibility if they’d just admit that. But they were able to defeat the measure in CA with scare tactics/lies about increased food prices so they’re sticking with that for now. And isn’t it interesting that they want to have the federal government take away the right of states to determine their own labeling laws? I’d be willing to be that 90% of those behind this call themselves political conservatives. As for the “little issue” with China refusing certain GMOs, it’s a “little issue” with India too now. Anytime an industry refuses transparency and refuses to tell consumers what’s in the food they’re selling, that should be cause for suspicion and vigilance.


      Thanks for sharing that and letting me blow off a little steam.


  3. Bill, another informative GMO post. It seems to have generated some interesting comments as well. I thought one of your responses to a comment very thought provoking. You stated ” With enough sugar, fat, and salt in it, our society is proving itself willing to eat just about anything.”

    I find that state sad and yet quite humorous. We are such a society given to pleasure. If it tastes good eat it. If it feels good do it. If it looks good watch it. If I want it buy it. Where has all the wisdom gone? Oh, yes, we have very smart intelligent people that have answers for all our problems in our country but they lack wisdom. In my humble opinion, wisdom is far more precious that a high IQ.

    Have a great non GMO day.


    • Bill says:

      Thanks Dave. We could use a big dose of food common sense these days. We are literally killing ourselves with our food choices. In 1996, the year GMO seeds were introduced, no state in America had an obesity rate of more than 20%. By 2010, a mere 14 years later, every state in America had an obesity rate greater than 20%, and in 12 states the rate exceeded 30%.


  4. Jeff says:

    I see parallels here with the network neutrality issue in telecom. Those opposed to network neutrality (almost all end-users) were high-fiving themselves silly in congratulations when the law was killed. What they didn’t realize was that it was Google and the big tech outfits in Silcon Valley who called their pets in Congress and said, “no, this won’t work.” Never stand between a capitalist and his profits. We serfs don’t have a voice any longer, but plenty of serfs still think they do when they call or e-mail their “representatives”.


    • Bill says:

      The GMO labeling initiative in CA illustrates how corporate money can control even consumer-initiated ballot measures, that side-step legislatures. The public supported labeling by an enormous majority and the result seemed a forgone conclusion. Then the industry stepped in and spent a huge pile of money buying TV ads falsely claiming labeling would dramatically increase cost of food, and the initiative was narrowly defeated. That result was purchased as plainly as if they’d paid off legislators.


  5. GMO is very quickly becoming a swearword to me. You just can’t get away from it. So sad that things have got to this in the world.
    Sorry to have a wee rant.
    Have a happy day Bill.
    🙂 Mandy


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