RUSSIA- A report by the Russian State Center for Animal Feed and Drug Standardization and Quality (VGNKI) indicates that about 10% of Russian feed analyzed contains undeclared genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which the Russian scientists believe could be harmful.
Undeclared use of GMOs remains the most widely spread type of fraud in the Russian feed market, the VGNKI scientists told the local publication Veterinary and Life.
Currently, Russian veterinary regulations permit maximum GMO content in feed at 0.9% for registered lines and 0.5% for unregistered lines, and both must be labeled as containing GMOs.
According to scientists, while using GMOs allows farmers to make a substantial profit, they could be potentially harmful to farmed animals.
“At first glance, GMOs in feed induce no negative impact on animals and humans. But their use in undesirable quantities can lead to vitamin deficiency, impaired immunity, and reduced productivity,” Dmitry Makarov, senior researcher at VGNKI remarked.
In addition, GMO-containing feed could make animals suffer diseases that are unexpected under a regular diet, the scientist remarked.
Moreover, in this case, glyphosate content in feed requires exceptional control as this herbicide is widely used in the cultivation of GM crops to control weeds, leaving it accumulated in significant quantities.
“Scientific studies testify to the high carcinogenicity of glyphosate for both animals and humans,” the VGNKI experts note.
The Russian authorities take a strict stance on the use of GMOs in animal feed, punishing violations with fines. Claims about the threat of GMOs are also backed by the Russian Academy of Science.
Replacement of fish meal
Another fraud in the Russian feed industry is the replacement of fish meals with cheaper ingredients to lower production costs in some companies, according to some studies conducted in the country.
According to Tamara Okolelova, Doctor of Biological Sciences, and Chief Specialist in Poultry Feeding at the Agrovetzashchita Research and Development Centre, the primary indicator that affects the price of fishmeal is its protein content, which ranges typically between 60 and 65%.
Corrupt manufacturers can achieve the same figures with the help of impurities, for example, non-protein nitrogen compounds.
“Non-protein compounds of nitrogen contain no protein, so animals get no necessary amino acids,” Okolelova said.
In addition, carbamide and ammonium nitrate are most often used as inorganic sources of nitrogen in the falsification of fishmeal. For example, the introduction of 1% urea increases the content of crude protein in feed by 3%.
Despite that, Okolelova notes that the nutritional value of such a protein and its digestibility is greatly reduced.