For more than 20 years, the livestock and poultry industries have used genetically modified (GM) crops as ingredients in animal feed. Research has shown that these ingredients do not pose any health risks to the animals that consume them or to the humans that eat the resulting meat, poultry, dairy, egg or fish products. In fact, scientific experts around the world have verified that GM food products bare no difference in quality or safety to their conventional counterparts, yet public and policymaker skepticism of the use of biotech crops or ingredients in food continues.
At the American Feed Industry Association, we recognize that GM crops are an important tool for the agricultural community to use to sustainably meet the growing food and feed demands of a world population that is expected to triple by 2050. Biotech crops have been proven to help farmers cultivate more yields using less land, while also reducing their overall greenhouse gas emissions. For example, estimates show that had biotech crops not been available in 2015 alone, farmers would have needed to plant an additional 48 million acres – equivalent to cultivating 11 percent more of the United States’ total arable land – to maintain crop production levels that year.
Although we see the benefits of biotechnology as a practical application in both agriculture and modern medicine, we recognize that not all share our view. We respect consumers’ freedom to choose from a variety of food products – whether produced conventionally, with biotechnology or organically – in the marketplace. In fact, we are proud to say that AFIA’s members represent all three of these production types. But, where we get concerned is when groups or policymakers make sweeping, and often untruthful or misleading, statements that disparage the use of safe biotechnology.
At AFIA, we value scientific research that fosters innovation in agriculture so more people have access to affordable and nutritious food. We continue to advocate for lawmakers and regulators to adopt policies that provide truthful information about biotechnology and biotech ingredients, so that farmers and ranchers are not blocked from using this safe technology and so that consumers can have the best information available with which to make decisions about the food they feed their families and pets.