GMOsHealth & Disease

This Little Piggy was Fed GMOs

by Shicana Allen, Institute for Responsible Technology

Dr. Judy Carman, associate professor in Health and the Environment at Flinders University (Adelaide, South Australia) and a team of seven other co-authors and scientists have released results of a long-term, peer-reviewed toxicology study that has found even more adverse effects resulting from the consumption of genetically modified foods. Using 168 just-weaned piglets from a commercial pig farm located in the United States, researchers fed half the subjects a mixed diet of widely-used varieties of GM maize (corn) and soy. The other half — the control group — were fed an equivalent non-GM diet. Pigs were specifically chosen as the test animal since their digestive system is similar to that of humans. Another factor was that investigators in the past had observed both digestive and reproductive problems in pigs fed GM crops, so this provided a basis for further scientific investigation.

Dr. Carman and her team discovered a 25% increase in uterus weight in the animals fed the GM diet as compared to the control group. In addition, GM-fed male pigs were four times more likely to be afflicted with severe stomach inflammation, while females had more than double the risk of the control group. The doctor emphasized that both the uterus and stomach findings were biologically and statistically significant. There was also a “marginally significant change on a measure of liver health in the blood of GM-fed pigs.”


  1. Suzana the effects of eating the pig would be much less than the effects on your children eating corn flakes or tofu. Almost all corn and soy produced in the US is gmo and they export a lot, so you’re probably eating it even in Australia.

  2. GMO may be the problem, but glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup could be it. The GMO feed contained the gene for herbicide resistance, for the “herbicide ready” GMO crops from Monsanto. We know that glyohosate can severely disrupt (“good”) necessary gut bacteria. GMO herbicide-ready crops are designed to resist higher levels of herbicide than the non-GMO herbicide-ready crops, (which is the goal of making them).
    It seems highly likely to me that the herbicide, which has been thought to be non-toxic to mammals but is highly toxic to their (our!) necessary gut bacteria, is a major part of the problem. It’s hard to distinguish the effects of the genetic modifications from those of the herbicide because we don’t know how much herbicide was used on the two sets of feed. Perhaps both funny genes and toxic herbicide are responsible. Would be important to know how much of each causes the problem if we are to avoid more self-poisoning. Glyphosate is pretty much everywhere now, and it seems to me to be a huge problem, the importance of which is just coming to light as we understand more of the role of gut bacteria in our health. I worry that we may be focusing on the wrong thing if we don’t figure this out.

  3. It is really amazing to hear it has taken this long to get these kind of tests conducted. This kind of careful study should have been completed before various genetic modifications were approved.

    That said this article on the study is fairly biased in how it treats the report. By all other measures (blood work, disease, weight gain, mortality) the GM and non-GM fed pigs were indistinguishable (so the image of the dead pig is misleading). The increased uterine size could easily be from different phytoestrogen levels in the non-identical soybean strains (a known issue in non-GM soybean).

    The insecticidal GM proteins in the corn causing inflammation in the stomach is a plausible mechanism, but isn’t reflected in other measures of intestinal distress (e.g. ulceration level) so the effect isn’t all that dramatic. This effect also relied on a qualitative measurement of inflammation based on the colour of the stomachs (double blinded at least). Given the other confounding data I would like to see a quantitative measurement of inflammation before believing the effect was that as severe as the numbers reported suggest.

    So I think the report definitely highlights the remaining unanswered questions about GMO safety in the diet, but the effects it measured aren’t any greater than those induced by non-GMO foods in particular individuals (as a celiac I can relate).

  4. Hi Caroline,

    I cant direct you to where I read this, but I recall experiments have been carried feeding mice (or rats) on GM potato with pesticide, natural potato with pesticide and just natural potato. The test animals fed GMOs developed some horrible cancers and deformities while neither of the other two groups did, indicating that the most immediate and visible harm came from the GM potato itself, not the fertilizer. This is not to say that it is safe to consume synthetic fertilizer, only that it is infinitely worse to eat GMOs.

  5. Hi aslanded,

    thanks for your reply. I dont live in Australia, but in the UK. The reason I am concerned is because I have recently discovered that while British supermarkets seem to be resisting GM grain and veg, their own brand meat products come from animals fed GM soy. Tesco (where 1 in every pound is spent in this country) claim that there is no alternative to GM feed because it is too costly and increasingly unavailable on the world market.

    Recently, there was a british drama called Utopia, where the characters uncovered a secret plot to destroy human fertility by genetically modifying food. Eventually they begin to starve because they realise the plotters have monopolised the food manufacture industry and there simply nothing left that was safe to eat. Are we there yet? The documentary film The World According to Monsanto, presents compelling evidence of a sinister conspiracy, if not to cause genetic mutation in people, at the very least to OWN ALL FOOD. South American farmers, scientists and politicians put forth the possibility of deliberate transgenic contamination of their ancient vegetable varieties by Monsanto in a hostile takeover of seed diversity.

    I am simply terrified.

  6. This is consistent to other testimonies coming from other farmers, among them what is reported here:

    “Jerry Rosman, a pig farmer in Iowa, was cultivating GMO corn,(Roundup Ready and BT) and fed this corn to his pigs.
    Result: his sows became infertile, and then after one year he went bankrupt.”

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