If you follow this blog, you know how much I dislike genetically-modified products in both pet and human foods. I found a list of the top GMO crops in the United States at http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/roundup-ready-pet-products/. Let’s look at each of them and see if they should be fed to our pets, even if they aren’t genetically modified.
Alfalfa is a flowering plant similar to clover in appearance with purple flowers. While it is high in protein, alfalfa is missing many of the amino acids found in real meat and dogs need those in their diet to thrive. A little alfalfa in an otherwise high-quality diet won’t hurt your pet.
Canola oil is used in many commercial pet foods. According to www.truthaboutpetfood.com, “The FDA provided Canola Oil a ‘heart healthy’ status in 2006. The heart healthy status was petitioned by the U.S. Canola Oil Assn., stating the claim may encourage food manufacturers (and pet food manufacturers) to substitute canola oil for other oils with less favorable nutritional profiles.” The truth is a bit different. Canola oil was created because the food industry wanted a cheaper source of monounsaturated oil in order to keep up with the growing popularity of olive oil and its benefits to good health. In a study sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation, the real story of canola oil came to light (http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-great-con-ola/). According to this report, canola oil is actually a poisonous substance that doesn’t belong in food. Those opposed to its use say it causes blindness, mad cow disease, nervous disorders and negatively affects the immune system. On the other side, many say the the claims are ridiculous and wrong. Some users say it causes nausea and stomach pains. You, the consumer, must decide this one because both sides have valid points. For more on canola oil, click here.
Corn is another food that sparks controversy. 80% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically-modified. This means that corn will be sprayed glyphosphates (Round-Up) to kill weeds and insects. I don’t want weed killer in my food or the food my pets consume. Many proponents of corn believe it is a viable alternative to meat as a protein, but some pets are allergic to corn. Dogs do not process plant proteins as easily as they do real meat.
Soy is used more and more in pet food. Even if it were not genetically-modified, I would not want my pets eating it. Dr. Karen Becker writing on www.healthypets.mercola.com, says that soybean products have been linked to seizures in dogs and cats. That’s enough for me but since most of the soy grown in this country is genetically modified and therefore subject to the same glyphosphates spraying as corn, I don’t want any part of it. It’s just not good for pets.
Sugar Beets create lots of discussion and argument when it comes to adding it to pet food. Beet pulp, which is what’s left when the sugar beet is processed, is a source of fiber – which aids digestion. Proponents say that most of the sugar is removed and therefore, this is a good addition to a dog’s diet. Those opposed argue that it is nothing more than a useless filler. My research leads me to believe that in small amounts, beet pulp serves a good purpose. So look for it to be listed far down the list of ingredients. If it is too near the top, the amount would be greater and might be useless calories.
Zucchini and Yellow Squash are high in calcium and beta-carotene. You can serve it to dogs as snacks or use it as an ingredient in his food or homemade cookie treats. Just know where it originated when you buy it. Summer squash is usually abundant in farmer’s markets where you can ask how it was grown and if any chemicals were used on the vegetable while it was in the ground.
There are other crops that are suspected to be in GMO production. Susan Thixton of truthaboutpetfood.com says these are called “Monitored Crops.” Flax, rice and wheat come under that suspicion. (http://truthaboutpetfood.com/roundup-ready-pet-products)
The only way to be sure that your chosen dog or cat food is completely free of GMO ingredients is to call the manufacturer and ask.
I am not saying that you should avoid every GMO food in your pet’s diet. Given that so many of the ingredients in pet foods are now genetically modified, you could easily miss one. Just follow the guidelines on the BARKS & MEOWS page at the top and you’ll be able to serve your dog a healthy