Why Soy?

Aug 28, 2012 by

During my trips up and down to feed my pigs things go through my mind.  I suppose in some respect I am evaluating my relationship with food and beginning to question more and more where it comes from and how it’s produced.

I made a decision a long time ago to stop buying eggs.  I have my own hens and ducks and if they don’t lay then I do without.  I then decided to stop buying layers mash (meal for laying hens) as it is produced using GM ingredients.  What was the point having delicious free range eggs polluted with GMs?

I am raising pigs for my own GM-free pork and bacon.

Limousin herd on lane

But as I walk down the lane to feed the pigs I am surrounded by beef, dairy and sheep farmers.  I got to thinking about meat and milk.  What GM feed is given to cattle and sheep?  Okay we are lucky here in Ireland to have quality grass for a good proportion of the year and then sileage for the rest.  But what about supplemental feed?  During winter when “nuts” are fed, chances are they are full of genetically modified maize and soy.  So for at least a proportion of the year unless you are buying certified organic you are consuming beef, lamb, milk and milk products produced from genetically modified feed ingredients.

Then a friend put a notice up on Facebook that she had an unused tin of Wysoy infant formula if anyone wanted it.  Out of interest I asked her to check the tin and see if it specified produced from GM-free soy.  No mention of it.  Now surely if it was, the manufacturer would plaster it all over the tin?? Out of curiosity I e-mailed SMA Nutrition to ask them. To be fair they answered the next day saying that the soy beans are in fact non-GM.

Then I wondered was the “normal” baby milk formula produced from cows fed a non-GM diet.  I e-mailed again and received an answer that all their ingredients were GM-free.  This was not the question I had asked, so I asked it again and received the following response “We receive skim milk in powder form. This milk is tested as part of the Supplier Contaminants programme and testing has confirmed that this is non-GM”.  

 As far as I am concerned this is not a satisfactory answer as I do not have any idea what the Supplier Contaminants programme is and also what they are actually testing for?  At no point have they confirmed that the milk they use is from cows fed a GM-free diet so I can’t see how they can say the milk is GM-free. 

So why are we so reliant on soy?  Why do we need so many tonnes of it to feed animals?  We can grow fields of barley, wheat, oats, rape seed all more than adequate for feeding any animal.  Before the sugar industry in this country was shut down, beet pulp was produced cheaply as a by-product for animal feed.  Why are we importing soy and maize from the US which is virtually all GM?

Why do so few consumers care about what they eat or what they feed their children?  Organic and GM-free is more expensive and people are struggling to balance budgets but there are many who complain about the cost of food and then go out and buy their kids the latest game console.  The same consumers who get a take away as they can’t be bothered cooking.  The parents who give their kids money to buy junk at lunchtime instead of sandwiches.  If all of the people who could actually afford to upgrade to better quality food did so, then the increase in demand would decrease the price – benefiting all.

Why soy?

Wysoy  GM Soy  Free Range Pigs  GM Free Food  Free Range Eggs

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