Archive for May 2013

Organic or Non-Organic Feed: The GMO Debate

There is a lot of discussion these days about GMO (genetically modified organism) grains in our food stream. At our hatchery we sell two types of feed that is milled at a local feed mill. I recently had a question about whether our feeds contained GMO’s and whether we had considered selling organic feed. My answer was:

” I can’t say for sure whether there are GMO grains in the feed or not. Paul (owner of Mule City Feeds) does not have a certified organic feed mill, so my guess is there is a high probability that there are GMO’s in the feed. The only way to be certain there are not GMO’s in the feed is to buy from certified organic mills. To my knowledge, there is only one in the state that is out of Elon. We have considered carrying it, however we are limited in storage space. There is also the cost consideration. Last fall their feed was above $40 per bag. Since they only sell by the ton to distributors, that would tie up more than $1000 of Ben’s (my 16 year old son who owns Little Birdie Hatchery) money in a product that is at risk from going bad. Most of our customers have said that $44 is too much to pay so we made the decision to stick with Mule City.

While not ideal, we feel buying local is a step in the right direction. Paul only buys his gains from local farmers. Most are small land holders. Over 90% of each bag was purchased from a farm that is less than 15 miles from the mill. That means, each bag has only traveled about 60 miles by the time it reaches our store.”

The same person stated in the email that there are dangers associated with eating GMO food. I have heard this from several people recently. I can’t say I am completely informed about the discussion, so I want to invite feedback from you.

Genetic modification is essentially the insertion of new genetic material in the DNA code of an organism. DNA is a complex protein. From my biochemistry days it was taught that for any protein, to be absorbed into the bloodstream, it must be broken down into the amino acid building blocks. As it related to a genetically modified organism, if eaten, the protein is going to be broken down to the base amino acids regardless of the genetic code. That being said, where is the risk?

I ask for your thoughts.