GMO Contamination Screening - Alfalfa and Corn (Greens and Grains)
We have ran an analysis for our alfalfa and grawa greens that we feed our livestock with, which came out negative for GMO contamination. Additionally we have also ran the analysis for our corn grain kernals which are “balady”, or domesticated and these also came out GMO-free with no contaminations. Corn is notoriously known to be contaminated world-wide with GMOs but rest assured balady corn is not contaminated with GMOs. Using these results we can affirm that poultry and livestock that consume these strictly will not be contaminated with GMOs. After discussing with a few scientists here within the spectrum of lab testing, they affirmed that GMO contamianted feed is usually ripe within imports from countries that use conventional farming practices and export the feed to countries in demand, willing to buy without any labels. Also you will find GMO contamination here with farming companies using pesticide resistent and modified crops, which could contaminate local farmer crops. If farming and raising your own livestock, just check current surroundings within a good radius and history of the land to determine crop contamination. We will continue to test feeds and release results as we go ahead.
We have a contributing scientist writer, Joseph Esparza, to share with us some information about GMOs and what these results mean:
Understanding GMO free results and their importance
What are GMO crops?
Genetically modified crops (GM or GMOs) are crops that are modified to improve a certain characteristic of the plant. This is achieved by inserting an external gene from a different plant or organism. GM crops have been historically developed to improve herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, drought, and disease tolerance. The result, increased yield, and lower cost. One of the first GM crops is soybean, which was genetically modified so it could tolerate higher concentrations of the Roundup® herbicide product, which main constituent is glyphosate. Similarly, other crops like Roundup Ready Alfalfa were developed. This glyphosate tolerant alfalfa allows for easy control of most weeds. However, weed problems in alfalfa are not significant when crops are rotating after three or four years. In addition, Roundup will kill the grass which is sometimes used to increase yield and can be an acceptable feed. Besides these, the direct and indirect consumption of GMO from crops and animal products is currently a concern among many consumers worldwide. Interestingly, little is known about the long-term effects of GMO consumption. This is also applicable to animal feeding. Many crops relevant to animal nutrition like corn, soybean, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, are typically derived from GMO seeds. In Egypt, most alfalfa and corn grass forages are GMO free, unless GMO seeds are purchased. In such case they are used in conjunction with herbicides and pesticides. Sadly, glyphosate accumulation in soil and contamination of underground water is very likely.
GMO corn in Egypt
GM corn is widespread in North America, where about 80-90% is genetically modified, and mostly used for animal feeding and bio-ethanol production. In Egypt, the situation is different. In 2008, the cultivation of GM corn in Egypt was approved which was followed by the commercialization of Bt maize or Ajeeb-YG (a GM maize that is tolerant to insect pests). However, this measure was revoked in 2012 by the Egyptian government due to biosafety concerns. Results confirming the absence of GM kernel ensures GM law compliance.
How GMOs can affect animal nutrition?
Scientific evidence suggests that gene transfer from a modified crop to humans and to animals is possible (horizontal gene transfer), but the risk of this is very low, yet very controversial. Some studies found that recombinant DNA from GM crops can be present ruminant solid phase and duodenal digesta of cattle, however, markers from modified crops was not found in milk, blood, and faeces. In contrast, a study examined 60 samples of milk from an Italian market finding that 15 samples tested positive for markers of GM maize and 7 samples tested positive for GM soybean. Other studies have shown that feeding poultry with GM maize did not result in presence of recombinant genes in muscle, kidneys, liver, spleen and eggs. However, studies suggest that although small, there is a chance that recombinant DNA from GM crops incorporates into the genome of human and animal digestive organs.
Most studies on the safety of GMOs has been performed for human safety purposes. Although not neglected, the effect of GMOs in animal feeding has received less attention. This is contradictory since about 70-90% of the GMO production is used animal feeding. Safety studies look for potential toxicity, allergenicity and changes in nutritional characteristics of GMO feeds.
Moreover, laboratory analyses and studies in mice and other lab animal models cannot be fully translated to livestock. First, livestock animals like poultry, cattle and sheep, and pigs have different gut anatomy and physiology. Secondly, livestock animals have greater exposure to the whole plant, including leaves and stalk, which are not usually feed in animal studies. For example, forage grasses are relevant to ruminants, and have no value to be tested on monogastric species.
But the controversy of GMO crops does not end there. Potential health risks of GMOs for both animals and humans also include exposure to new allergens, transfer of antibiotic-resistant genes to gut flora, and exposure to high levels of pesticides and herbicides. Other concerns are related to the alteration of the natural state of crops. These occur when genes from a GMO crop propagates and pollinize wild plant or crop relative (vertical gene flow).
How GM crops tested?
The testing of GMO is an important aspect for commercialization, consumer acceptance, and safety of crop feed and food products. The genetic tests of GMOs look for foreign DNA in the plant. Typically, the creation of a GM plant involves the use of bacteria or viruses that can transfer a desired DNA fragment into the plant’s cell. Therefore, the presence or absence of bacteria’s’ and viruses’ genetic elements can be used to detect GM plants. In broad spectrum GMO test a fragment of DNA is specially designed to recognize these virus or bacteria elements and generate billions of copies of them to be detected and quantified. In test results a GMO(P-35S) is indicative of Cauliflower mosaic virus used to produce the GMO, GMO(T-NOS) is indicative of Agrobacterium tumefaciens (a bacteria commonly used to transfer foreign DNA into plants), while GMO(P-FMV) relates to traces of Figwort mosaic virus. These three markers are widely used due to their broad coverage of detection of GMOs.
Overall a GMO-free certification not only guaranties environmental safety of crop but is also a protection of yet unknown effects on animal and human health.
- Detection of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA in rumen fluid, duodenal digesta, milk, blood, and feces of lactating dairy cows. Available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14740846/
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16373205/Detection of genetically modified DNA sequences in milk from the Italian market. Available at
- Egypt poised to again lead Africa in ag biotech innovation. Available at https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2019/02/egypt-poised-lead-africa-ag-biotech-innovation/
- The fate of forage plant DNA in farm animals: a collaborative case-study investigating cattle and chicken fed recombinant plant material. Available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s002170000248
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Transgenic Crops and Recombinant DNA Technology. Available at https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos-transgenic-crops-and-732/
- GMO crops in animal nutrition. Available at https://academic.oup.com/af/article/7/2/9/4638837
- Is Roundup Ready Alfalfa the Right Choice? Available at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/roundup-ready-alfalfa-right-choice
Disclaimer: This article was written by Joseph Esparza, a scientific expert on food and agriculture, Food Engineer and Ph.D. in Food and Agricultural Products. The article has been prepared for the exclusive use by Tayyiba Farms
GMO-free alfalfa and grawa test results
GMO-free corn results
GMO-Free Balady Corn Fields
GMO-free corn kernals