GMO Foods

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GMO Foods

Post by killarney_rose » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:02 pm

[highlight=#e1ebf2]Scrapscot's quote:[/highlight]
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We'd all be a lot healthier if we'd stop eating the packaged and processed foods! My daughter Rachel writes a lot on facebook and (when she has time) on her blog about GMOs and all the bad stuff we are getting in our foods. Growing your own or buying at Farmers markets are the best way to avoid the crap that is going into our foods.[/highlight]


From the Thread: I have a bone to pick....pun intended!


First let me say I whole heartily agree with what Scrapscot wrote!!! I too believe we are better off eating a whole food diet. All of us across the board are entitled to our opinions and as such I completely respect those opinions. So for those of you who do not know what GMO Foods are let me give you both sides of the issue from one who is involved in the debate which occurs in agriculture in our country. I even posted a thread a couple of years back so you could ask questions and I could answer them.

Also moving my response here allows each of you to come in discuss GMO Foods, ask me questions and even throw out the "YOUR WRONG, KIM!" either being mean or nice and I promise to respect how you feel.

So lets look at Genetically Modified Foods. I personally love the fancy name and I personally love how miss used the name is. We have been Genetically Modifying Foods since we domesticated animals and plants. The most apparent to most people in animals would be rabbits, horses and dogs. The different breeds look different physically, have different purposes for which they were bred and the list goes on and on. Research began over two decades ago to modify foods on the molecular level. They have been available in our food chain for 20 years. So you haven't heard about them? Keep in mind that all the meat you eat has not been genetically modified at the molecular level. The first thing we did in genetically modifying animals was to clone them and their life expectancy was severally reduced. As a result us cloning and/or modifying the genes is much more expensive and so unreliable in life expectancy. Using DNA markers as part of the equation of mating criteria to produce better meat is far more reliable and cheaper. Here's some of the pros and cons from those who produced genetically modified foods of which is found in grain production (corn and soybeans mostly).

Pros:

Larger harvest in lbs per acre
Less use of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
Better soil conservation.

Cons:

Dangerous to the health of livestock fed GMO's
Dangerous to humans eating GMO's
Both of the above can not be fully proved by science.
Legal legislation against farmers who have been sued over having GMO grains harvested from non-GMO plants because of pollen drift or saving of seed. Number of suits is under 50.
In order to sell Organic Grains via a Farmer's Market one can not have pollen drift.

Let's look at the Pros:

Pros

1) A larger harvest helps us as a country feed us and 96% of the rest of the world. We arrived at the 7 billion inhabitants in this world last October. By 2050 we will reach 9 billion. We can not make more land and we are loosing prime agriculture land at the rate of 1 million acres a year in our country alone to urban sprawl. We need to keep feeding the world because if we do not, then our national security is at stake. We are blessed as a nation to be able to grow more food then any other nation in the world because of our climate and soils.

2) Less use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides is a good thing for both the consumer and the planet.

3) No till practices preserve the soil and there is less loss of topsoil. To be fair no till practices can be used with non-GMO crops.

4) Edited here: Whoops I forgot one!!!! GMO's seeds who have come to market recently are improved drought resistant crops. Means saving our water resources especially the Edwards Aquifer!

Cons:

1) Research has shown no correlation between GMO's and disease or illness in humans or animals.

Let's look at this a little closer. I have an analytically inclined brain, I've participated in research while working two summers at a agriculture research station so being able to read research in agriculture comes very easy to me. There have been over 5000 studies done on GMO's from both the pro side and those on the con side. I have a very close friend who has read every single study. He's found flaws on the pro side and has found all of the studies with flaws on the con side. That is up until a study that was released earlier this year. I read the entire study and found the minor flaw right off the bat. I love to read a study before he reviews it. I want this study to come to the US to be replicated before I fully believe it. Most of the studies have been done overseas. Most studies in India do not take into account the problems they have with environmental concerns in the country.

2) Huge numbers of myths about GMO's abound!

3) Farmers are required to sign contracts with major corporations who are preserving intellectual property.


Now here is my opinion on GMO's. Remember it is only my opinion. First to settle some of the ruckus I hear over GMO's. I happen to agree with opponents that food labels should show if it contains GMO produced food. I'm one of those free market economists. If the citizens of this country don't want GMO foods then they will not buy it. If you and I won't buy it then there becomes no reason for those companies to produce GMO seed for farmer's to grow. Within 2-3 years GMO foods would be gone! It would take that long to produce the seed in quantity we need to produce a crop. Keep in mind though your price of food would go up as you would be completing with the world who wants to buy the food we grow as a nation. Works for me though.

Second, I sit completely on top of the fence so I could fall either way pro or con. But I'm the person who has to have validated research with is replicated. I find huge human flaws in research today being done today by our land grant universities. And where I find the flaw is in the money end, not necessarily in the research itself. Professors have such a huge pressure to pull money in for research I think they feel the pressure to continue to bring in dollars instead having good solid research results. Again it's my opinion.

Let me conclude this little bit about food. Over 90% of the food recalls come from small Mom and Pop farms like me who sell via the Farmer's Market, organic markets, or other direct selling markets. Remember the Cantaloupe Recall last year. An organic farm turned out to be the source. Small Mom and Pop just like me. The contamination came from the fertilizer. Organic farms use manure of some sort to produce fertilizer either themselves or via a commercial fertilizer labeled organic. Please please remember Food Safety is Food Safety, do not assume because it comes from someone like me that the food is better or safer for you. Why are there more recalls then in the past, because our technology in communication is so much better then years ago, and because two or three people report illness as food poisoning may now trigger a recall where it wouldn't have 10 years ago. Our USDA and FDA continue to make great strides in making our food safety system better for you the citizen. It's one of the reasons I refuse even if it wasn't law to sell you meat from my farm not frozen. If you buy from me it's frozen and inspected in a USDA facility. And I do not ship!!!! But, I'll buy food shipped in because I trust fellow farmers. Understand too, we have the safest food systems in the entire world and we are blessed as a result. And another common myth....chickens whether grown for meat NEVER RECEIVE hormones in their diet. It's never been allowed and never will be allowed. Do not buy into that myth!

And one more little bit of info for Charlene on my Akaushi post. Carlene, I do agree completely that grass fed is better for you. Proven solidly in research and replicated. But let me reword what I wrote. In research sponsored by the grain fed side the Omega 3/6 ratios which is what makes Grass Fed Beef for you is not statistically in Omega 3/6 ratios better for you over eating grain fed when it comes to the rest of the meal. If what else you serve with the meat one can easily toss the Omega 3/6 ratios back into the court for the meal as if you cooked grain fed beef. I know that those on a Vegan or Paleo diets spend much more time paying attention to nutrients then most of the rest of our citizens do. And that attention to detail in their diets is so very healthy for the individual. More of us should do so.





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Re: GMO Foods

Post by killarney_rose » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:31 pm

[highlight=#e1ebf2]Need to Scraps quote:[/highlight]
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[highlight=#e1ebf2]'Over the years I have been trying to keep a bigger vegetable garden and can or freeze as much as possible. I think there are too many insecticides, herbacides and pestacides used on our foods along with the growth hormones and such in livestock. We also buy beef by the half or quarter from a local rancher every year!'[/highlight]

I pulled this post down here, too. Again because I'm reading words that provide for a common myth. Chris wrote something and may actually know what hormones are really used. I just want those to understand when one types growth hormones we might be thinking oh my gosh. So this is to provide the truth. Chris you bring up a valid concern and you feel better for choosing not to have these substances in your food!!!! You rock!

1) Chicken - see last sentences of my post above.

2) Lambs - all are grass fed in this country, they are not carried in a feed lot at any time. Follow the link to read on hormones. Growth hormones would probably be the same as cattle. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Lam ... ndex.asp#6

3) Pigs - http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/1999/990916.htm

4) Beef Cattle - only receive estrogen if male and testosterone if female in some feedlot cattle. Other feedlots may not place an implant in their animals and receive a premium price for beef. All Natural, Grass Fed, and Organic labels can not use hormones in their production methods. Estrogen and testosterone are not per say growth hormones but given in dosages to the opposite sex cause more growth. But in my opinion not worth the added cost if I were raising calves to be sold to a feed lot. **edited, caught myself putting in wrong hormone for steers. now corrected.**

5) Dairy - RGH hormone used so dairy cows produce more milk. Exact same hormone the cow produces herself for milk production.

Remember it's not up to me to decide your diet but only to tell the truth and let you make the decisions that are best for you and your family. Power in knowledge!!!! We grow a lot of our food, too! But your decisions are yours and I'll tell you every single time! I believe in what you do! The government shouldn't be choosing your diet, you should. And that applies to everyone who reads what I write when it comes to food.
Last edited by killarney_rose on Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: GMO Foods

Post by scrapscot » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:38 pm

Good post, Kim! I'm learning so much from Rachel's research and those people she refers to me. It's nice to hear from someone in the industry.
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Re: GMO Foods

Post by pawprints » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:51 pm

Thanks for taking the time to explain it all Kim!
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Re: GMO Foods

Post by Flasher » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:30 pm

It's been a long time since my debate hat has been on here. I've been in the mood for a good debate. :greenwinkb:

That being said, you posted a ton of information in just a short time, and I am not as well read on the subject as you are, so thank you for that and the additional links. Also, you posted both sides of the issue, which should open the doors of communication up to more people.

Now, I can see both the pros and the cons to this. I can see making the argument for being able to help those countries that struggle with starvation and food shortages. But, I tend to lean more with the con side of this debate. Sure, some good can come from this. We can feed the world and modify food that would be resistant to freezes, molds, insects, etc. And, by modifying certain crops, we can certainly reduce the amounts and numbers of pesticide that we use. But, at what cost?

I worry about things like how altering a certain crop will affect other crops? What if microscopic parts of genetically modified organisms somehow get transfered to other crops or other insects? What about accidental cross-pollination? What about pesticide resistance? What if organisms from GM crops have residual effects and start to kill off other beneficial insects? I'm one of those who believes that everything is in its place for a reason. I believe that when you mess with the balance of things, you're setting yourself up for trouble. What if during the process of making crops resistant to insects, we inadvertently eliminate other insects that are in fact beneficial to other vegetables, fruits or grains? I don't like that idea at all.

Also, another concern I have is allergen related. My husband is allergic to nuts. So far in his 43 years, it's never progressed beyond hives and mouth blisters. But, that doesn't mean he will never go into full blown anaphylaxis from them one day in the future. If they start altering the very genes and organisms and microbes that makeup some of these crops, how do we know they aren't introducing a whole new set of unknown allergens with unknown consequences to those people who are already sensitive to such things?

As far as hormones in our meat and dairy supply, I'm against it completely whether it be to make of cow bigger or make her produce more milk. It doesn't matter to me if it would have been "naturally occurring" to the animal or not. Same with antibiotics - I don't think we will ever really know what is actually in anything we're eating. Sigh.

Anyway, I feel I'm starting to ramble. Thanks for letting me offer my 2 cents!
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Re: GMO Foods

Post by killarney_rose » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:14 am

Laura,

I would wish all presentations of concern were like yours. I am so tired of screaming individuals about GMO's are terrible. This has lead to so many myths and out right falsehoods. I had a fellow Lowline producer who stated there was a child who had six fingers and toes because of GMO's in the next county over from him. My comment back was did you see the link via scientific data and have you considered it just might be genetic? He replied thinking a little more logically when the light bulb went on, 'I guess all it takes is someone placing doubt.'

This is my whole point of bringing up GMO's in a discussion. Are we so readily willing to accept what someone says outside of the scientific community on our food but in turn are willing to let someone open you up to remove a gall bladder because it is a common successful surgery. Then lets look at one statement I made. There is no correlation between GMO's and disease or illness in humans. Now anyone understanding research knows what 'correlation' means, it's that fancy word that leaves an open hole and why studies continue to be done. In my opinion when we continue to study something then at some point we find the answer that can not be disputed. It's why I find the study released earlier this year so fascinating. It was done in France. Unfortunately I have little faith in the French....I only have to look at history to see a country who operates on 'Whoops there went the bird!' I truly think they prefer to think of themselves as the stereo type they love, 'The country of lovers!' My best friend when we were in high school and my daughter in '08 came back and said French are an emotional group....it's all about carefree life filled with love. Ok....I take that too on face value. But honestly when I get to the point of reading about the rats diet and you report feeding 30% GM and that's it I have this huge question mark. 30% of what and what was the GM? What else did you feed them and what was the weight of the total ration fed? Two studies done in this country both found that Dr. Pepper and Black Pepper can kill rats. In both studies they over fed the rats both. Well darn it force feed a rat and exorbitant amount of either will kill them or was it the only thing you fed them. Then came in the same thought process, did you have enough control groups and what were they fed in this GMO study? I have a very small bit of experience with rats from Lynn having them as pets for six years. Remember whether lab rats or pet rats they are the same domesticated rats. Rats have a life expectancy or 2-3 years so Lynn probably has had 6 or 7 rats as she usually has more then one. Like us it is amazing how different their preferences are in food. After all mice and rats are so successful as a species because they have been following us around eating behind us for way too many years to even begin to count. So why wouldn't they have individual preferences? So lets bring the research here, replicate it another couple of times and release what you fed the rats....don't just say 30% GM!

Like you Laura I have some of the same questions. I can't answer all of them but some I can. When it comes to other species of grains the answer is no one can not transfer genetic material. Corn, wheat, oats and barley all classified as grasses. They are not species of grasses that cross breed. On the issue of pesticide, herbicide and fungicide resistance. Bugs, weeds and molds already showed resistance to chemicals before GMO's were introduced. It is of a huge concern with all farmers regardless of animal or plant grown. I too, believe when you mess with the balance of nature you can have problems. For this one I step outside of agriculture and pick on the Spotted Owl. Because of our lack of knowledge about this bird very extremist environmentalists have caused large problems in habitat for the birds and for people. When we do not manage forests we end up destroying habitat for both the birds and property of people to wildfires. Dry & dead undergrowth leads to huge devastating fires from a hot burn situation. Managing a quick burn because of a low amount of undergrowth provides for a cooler burning of the forest and much quicker recovery. It has routinely been proven that cool burns are so much healthier for both forest and agriculture land because it adds needed nutrients back into the soils, Agronomy 101 or Forestry 101. Also from the time the Spotted Owl was put on the endangered species list in 1990 we have learned the problem isn't habitat it's the Barred Owl who is a predator of the Spotted Owl and loosing Old Growth Forests was not a cause of the loss in numbers of Spotted Owl. We as farmers have discovered along with Wildlife Specialists that when we care about the wildlife on our our land, animals and crops do so much better. It's that balance we seek at our ranch and choose native pastures over what is termed improved grasses. When we manage for wildlife first, the cattle do so much better. If I didn't answer a question in this paragraph relating to yours Laura, I don't know the answer.

Allergens were the first thing I worried about when speaking with my husband when the first GMO's were offered to farmers. They came out in cotton first. The molecular change was done by splicing a gene in from the poison ivy plant. Poison Ivy is very resistant to Round-Up naturally. Darn weed, it can make us miserable. I'm one though who has built a tolerance for it. I'll have a small localized rash for about 12 hours, I'm a fortunate one. But the gene used was not the one which would cause a skin reaction. But do we know this with all GMO's? Some companies who produce these GMO's are pretty tight lipped about their intellectual property others are not tight lipped. It's a good place to start looking if you have more curiosity. I don't since I don't grow GMO crops. As I've said before agriculture is the most dynamic industry in our country. The specialist in Agronomy won't know what I do about cattle. What I know about growing what he does which is grains and field crops (not vegetables) is next to nothing. Now keep in mind I also know plenty of Agronomists who know a huge amount about cattle. We usually don't specialize in one field. I know cattle, horses and ag economics but I also know I have to keep learning to stay abreast of those interests. My husband is an Agronomist, Industrial Technologist and Beef Industry. And he has no college education. When it comes to Farm Equipment and Construction, I've seen him build some amazing pieces of equipment and rock sturdy structures. I call him my engineer without the formal education. It's been a lot of fun lately watching my son take an interest in rebuilding motorcycles, these two men have finally found something they can enjoy together! Working on engines!

I'm getting off topic and winded. Laura, the disconnect between the populace and the use of hormones and antibiotics on the farm is extreme. Because the food animal I grow is beef cattle I know little about dairy cattle, goats, sheep, or pigs and I know enough about chickens to have a backyard flock. As far as dairy and beef cattle there are some slight differences in feed and antibiotics. As far as hormones I only know that RGH is the same hormone which occurs naturally in their systems. I have no opinion on whether it should be used or not as I haven't even looked into it. I can though touch on hormones from the standpoint of beef. You have to excuse me I had to correct my post above on hormones. Heifers in feedlots receive testosterone not progesterone. The cattle don't grow larger as much as it allows for them to put more muscle on faster. There has been so much emphasis on meat quality there is a point at which they put on too much muscle. The cattle in feedlots are not allowed to reach that point because it affects meat quality. Also remember not all feedlots use hormones. If you buy Nolan Ryan beef they grow cattle in feedlots under an All Natural label and therefore cannot use hormones. And you already know my opinion I don't see enough difference in growth rates to warrant using them economically. I can't use them either because I also grow my beef under an All Natural label. My label is slightly different. We strive for a grass fed animal, but if our forage cannot maintain the health of our animals because we are under and All Natural label we have the option or can at times feed grain. We purposely went All Natural over Grass Fed because of the drought last year. And to be honest I wouldn't trust most grass fed producers as far as I could throw him/her. When I say that so many grass fed producers have come about from people retiring and deciding to raise grass fed beef. They know absolutely nothing about nutrition in cattle and I've seen more malnourished animals on grass fed farms then I can even count. A large number of these individuals will not move past their convictions about feeding a forage based diet they'll allow their animals to suffer. It drives me nuts! Like us cattle need a balanced diet....their correct diet. What forage lacks it has to be made up somewhere else. It may be protein, it may be carbohydrates, it may be minerals or vitamins. But if those farmers will not learn or not take advice then their cattle look horrid!

Now lets talk antibiotics. Instead of me getting long winded I found a great blog post that explains what feed additives are in beef cattle when talking about antibiotics fed on a daily basis. It's very correct.

http://agriculturedblog.wordpress.com/2 ... f-farming/

When talking about therapy use of antibiotics it's a whole other story. When a cow, dairy or beef need an antibiotic for illness then we have a host of antibiotics to choose from as well as many diseases have vaccines. Some of the antibiotics are the very same ones we take. Some of the same are common penicillin both short acting and long acting as we call them. Short acting is Pen-G Procaine and Long acting is Pen-G Benzathine. There are some others like Baytril, LA-200 (liquamycin) which is Terramycin for humans and still more that are approved for human use. There is Micotin and Micotil both the same thing, Draxxin and others not approved for human use. I prefer to use the similar ones that humans use. But if it won't take care of the illness I'll move to the other two I listed. In all use of antibiotics there are withdraw periods where an animal cannot become food during the withdraw period. All meat is tested for antibiotics....and trust me the USDA and FDA will be knocking at your door if your animal tests positive for antibiotics.

To everyone, I love that there are more choices available in all foods today then in the past. If you don't want antibiotics in your food there are producers like me that don't sell them under our labels of All Natural, Grass Fed or Organic. But, if I have a calf who has had antibiotics for illness I'll disclose that fact when I sell the beef from that animal. It comes with a discount. We personally have never had a person refuse to purchase this type of beef, will it happen in the future I'm almost 100% sure it will. We do not feed ionophores if we need to feed grain. If we ever have a problem with Coccidia then we will treat the entire herd with a product called Corid. We have not had a problem with Coccidia. Even the most common two wormers used are approved for human use. They also have withdraw times. Also remember, if we don't treat our animals when sick we are not being good stewards to them. They are safe to enter the food chain. Like us a disease can move quickly through a herd and we have to stay on top of any illness.

Laura, thank you so much for a great post!!!! I really enjoyed reading it!!! I wish I had all of the answers for you....and in many areas on a personal level I stand right beside you!

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Re: GMO Foods

Post by killarney_rose » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:45 am

Let's talk hunger from Laura's post! Geez....takes me back to a Masters level course I was so excited about taking: World Agriculture Economics and Marketing. We had a visiting professor who had just finished work in Jamaica with the Peace Corp. I applaud him for doing that type of work. Yet what did he do with the class? Spent the 4 weeks of Summer I preaching about world hunger. World hunger should take it's rightful place in class, but certainly not all of it. At the end of the semester we had to turn a research paper about world hunger from the three weeks he had spoken about it. It only had to be seven pages, mine ended up ten. LOL....he asks me to stay in the room until the last final is turned in. It was the same length as the other two tests so not a long wait. He started with 'You wrote a fine paper and your footnotes were correct. How did you come to your conclusion?.' LOL....it wasn't his, but I backed it up with my footnotes and used many of the issues he presented. Truely the two greatest obstacles to world hunger is education in growing food and governments. Secondary are a host of obstacles related to the growing of food but not to the how to. We have been able to resolve most of the issues on education and the process of growing the food.....but governments is a whole other story. We now go in and teach growing food via education and carry forward to harvesting foods. In fact in Afghanistan we have taken those who grow food in National Guard units who are farmers/ranchers and taught how to grow food. They have done a great job, too. On the other hand we can look to Africa and see where government problems immediately begin to become the paramount issue. One of the other great issues is soil quality in Africa. They have the oldest soils on the planets and just are not conducive to growing large quantities of food so we have been teaching a huge amount of building new topsoil. Many times those helping to teach when they leave the government tears down what has been built as the base. Controlling individuals through lack of food. Even North Korea cannot meet the needs of it's people with food. There is so much more our government can do, but is there really an interest when a country doesn't have anything we need like energy. Can we build the agriculture systems these nations need so the pressure comes off of our total agriculture production before this world can not feed all people? It's certainly some food for thought.

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Re: GMO Foods

Post by Flasher » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:14 am

Wow. Well, if I ever have any future questions about anything agriculture related, I know who I'm going to. I know that it's your life and your livelihood, but Holy Hannah - you're like a walking encyclopedia.

I, too, put very little faith in studies of any kind. In the world of GMO Foods, I would be willing to put money on the line that there has never really been a large scale, multinational, multicultural, "bipartisan" (if you will) study into the effects of GMO Foods on humans/animals. It's hard to have faith in just about any "research" these days because of the money/governmental ties. I've always thought of it as "He who sponsors it, gets it." Big Pharma is a great example. Sure their studies show no harm to patients consuming Fancy New Drug A. If their studies showed otherwise, they'd never get the approval from the FDA. Then, patients find out, sometimes years down the line, that there really are some wicked side effects. Imagine that. I know I'm getting a little off topic, but I'm trying to say in some really long winded way, that I agree with you on the French study you cited. That's certainly not a study by any means, and it has no real or valid conclusion. That's my worry as a parent and consumer. In any issue, the "pro" side is always going to have "data" that backs their views and the "con" side is always going to have data that backs their issue, with neither willing to acknowledge that the other might have valid points or concerns. And then I'm stuck in the middle not knowing where the truth lies.

As to the world hunger issue, I agree with you completely. Government and education are the biggest obstacles to this. And if I were pressed, I'd give government most of the blame.

With your information, I do have a better idea now about grasses/grains and cross pollination. Thank you for that information.

Anitibiotics? I didn't mean to sound as if I were bashing them across the board. I do acknowledge that they are needed to help sick animals and possibly protect an entire herd. My problem is with those that do it simply for production purposes. Same with hormones. Some farmers do it so they'll have bigger pigs and cows, some do it so their cows will produce more milk or their chickens bigger eggs. If it isn't necessary for the life and well being of the animal, then why do it? Hey, I'm already a peri-menopausal hormonal mood factory as it is. Probably shouldn't introduce any more to me through my food. :greenwinkb:

The allergens are still my biggest concerns in all of this. Hopefully, one day, we'll have the answers we need. This is not an area that I have really looked into extensively. As it becomes more prevalent and wide-spread, those of us with concerns will have to educate ourselves. So thank you again for all the information. I appreciate it.
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