GM Free Cymru

Need for further studies of glyphosate herbicide

Date Added to website 4th April 2014

Press Release from Aarhus University, Denmark:

[Note from GM-Free Cymru: Previously the academic community in Denmark -- and indeed across most of the world -- has been in a state of denial about the impact of GM animal feed -- and the glyphosate residues contained in it -- on farm animals. So this marks a significant shift -- a recognition that there are two hypotheses relating to glyphosate harm that need to be tested experimentally. Ib Pedersen's one-man campaign to get his message across to the academic community and the politicians is at last bearing fruit......]

Need for further studies of glyphosate herbicide

Scientists suggest that there is a need to investigate possible effects of glyphosate on the health of livestock , which is particularly sensitive physiological and production phases.

03/24/2014 | Claus Bo Andreasen

Without further scientific studies it is not possible to assess whether the animals in sensitive states are at risk of adverse effects from the residues of gylphosat that can be found in imported or home-grown feed.

The advent of genetically modified, pesticide - tolerant plant varieties ( GM plants ) have worldwide led to an almost explosive increase in the use of the herbicide glyphosate .

The health effects of both GM crops and glyphosate has been studied in many different contexts. Yet raised regularly discussions about health risks of feed derived from glyphosate -treated GM crops.

The Ministry has therefore asked DCA - National Center for Food and Agriculture Aarhus University to assess the need for further investigation of possible adverse effects of glyphosate -treated , genetically modified crops.

Senior Martin Tang Sørensen, Department of Animal Science , has reviewed all relevant published studies in order to identify potential risks to livestock health.

Hypotheses about the possible risk of glyphosate

- There is nothing to indicate that there are risks from the GM crop itself , says Martin Tang Sørensen. In return, he establishes two hypotheses which can not be rejected without experimental basis . The two hypotheses are:

Glyphosate can affect the microorganisms in animal gastrointestinal system with secondary effects on their production and health. Glyphosate can affect livestock mineral status with secondary effects on their production and health.

The two hypotheses based on the known effects of glyphosate. It is known that glyphosate can affect bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract in animals and different microorganisms have different tolerance to glyphosate. Similarly, it is known that glyphosate can inhibit the availability of minerals , including trace minerals that have crucial functions in animals.

Domesticated animals in physiological and production sensitive phases such as high yielding cows after calving and piglets immediately after weaning, are likely to be most vulnerable to the effects of glyphosate.

The hypothesis is supported by the new laboratory studies showing that pathogenic bacteria are less inhibited by glyphosate than non- pathogenic bacteria. Furthermore, there has recently published a German study , where glyphosate was found in the urine at the time when the animals had low levels of the trace elements in the blood.

Martin Tang Sørensen and his colleagues therefore believe that there is a need for clarification of whether there is a risk of negative effects on livestock by the residues that can be found in both imported and home-grown feed.

Read the note " Feeding livestock products from GM soya " .

Further information: Senior Martin Tang Sørensen, Department of Animal Science , email : martint.sorensen @ , phone : 8715 7819