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Effects of Gmo Crops On Meat and Meat Products


Quality of meat supplied to consumers depends on environment under which livestock are being produced. Figure1 below illustrates the absorption process that plants go through to get phosphates and at the animals getting the nutrients through feeding on the plants. Livestock obtain lots of nutrients from GMOs. A good environment for animals means that they get all the wants and requirements and maximum care by people. There is need for adequate resources for normal existence of animals and avoiding development of abnormal behaviours. The provision of food to animals should be take place under pleasurable experience. Suitable environment and pain relief should be accorded to animals. It due to these that the UK came up with principles for overall health and husbandry for animals. There are morals that should be followed according to the Banner Committee before engaging any new approaches of breeding. Ensuring proper animal welfare helps quality meat is consumed in the UK that may be affected by the increased demand and environmental degradation. It is through authenticity of animal welfare and identification of meat species which is very important to the end product a condition that ensure consumers form informed choices and UK’s fair trade.

1) Environment and water

There are different forms of phosphorus that exist in the soil. The amount of phosphorous in the soil is usually small necessitating farmers in UK to apply phosphate fertilizers in their farms. When animals consume crops from the farms they take in these phosphates. Phosphorus is one of the essential components in cell development and also in the formation of energy molecules.

P Cycle

The P cycle process comprises of the movement of phosphorous through rocks, organisms, water, soil and sediments (check figure 1 below)

The P Cycle
  1. Endnotes P. J. Gerber et al., Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock. A Global Assessment of Emissions and Mitigation Opportunities (England, UK: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2013).
  2. Müller, W.E., Schröder, H.C. and Wang, X., 2019. Inorganic polyphosphates as storage for and generator of metabolic energy in the extracellular matrix. Chemical reviews, 119(24), pp.12337-12374.
  3. Hou, E., Chen, C., Luo, Y., Zhou, G., Kuang, Y., Zhang, Y., Heenan, M., Lu, X. and Wen, D., 2018. Effects of climate on soil phosphorus cycle and availability in natural terrestrial ecosystems. Global change biology, 24(8), pp.3344-3356.
  • During rain and weathering process, rocks release ions which makes the inorganic phosphorous to be distributed in water and soil from which plants absorb.
  • Animals will in return consume plants as food
  • Animals use the minerals in the formation of organic substances like DNA which gets back into the soil when they die.
  • When they are broken down phosphorus again become released to the soil and plants readily use them.
  • When phosphorus is not utilized by plants during the process indicated above it gets washed into water bodies that where animals can consume them together with water.
Recovery from wastewater

There is a possibility of recovering phosphorus from waste water. 40%-50% is the rate at which the recovery. The recovery of phosphate from water costs higher compared to that from rocks. In the UK its approximated that 2-6 billion are spent on recovery of phosphorous from waste water annually. For UK conditions, the additional costs specific to wastewater treatment which integrates phosphorus recovery can be approximated at 2-6 billion pounds per capita annually (review Box 2).

Box 2: The conclusions of the World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2017:

  • “Wastewater: It’s a resource that is untapped. The report emphasizes on the responsibility that human beings have to reduce pollution, removing contaminants from waste water that flows and making use of reclaimed water. Also, the report indicates that there are opportunities that arise through treatment of waste water and recovery of the by-products.
  • There are many potential nutrients like salts, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium and also inorganic compounds.
  • Though the compound has their own effects on the environment when their concentrations is higher, phosphorous concerns are unique and require an in-depth discussion.
  • One cannot rely on one approach to ensure phosphorus security levels are available. Therefore, there will be need for complimentary plans the ensure efficient levels of the nutrient.
  • Through complimentary measures and recovery of phosphorous it will present an opportunity od cost saving and wastage of waste water.
  • There are many opportunities associated with SDG 2 (food and agriculture) in the ````process of recovering phosphorous from waste water. SDG 6 (water and sanitation) SDG 12 (Sustainable consumption and production)
GMOs in the UK

GMO crops are used to feed 95% of animals that produce animals in the UK. There are studies that have indicated that the safety and health of animals is similar when they consume both non-GMO and GMOs. When animals feed on GMO feeds they do not transfer the DNA to their bodies from the crops. There is no effect that arises from the GMO foods as they are not affected by GMOs. If the DNA could be transferred, then animals could likely have different DNAs based on what they consume. The way GMOs are developed they contain antibiotic responses and nutrients and they are cheaper to get. However, there are circumstances that they get allergic to animals.

  1. Filippelli, G.M., 2008. The global phosphorus cycle: past, present, and future. Elements, 4(2), pp.89-95.
  2. Wang, J. and Fan, L., 2019. Effect of ultrasound treatment on microbial inhibition and quality maintenance of green asparagus during cold storage. Ultrasonics sonochemistry, 58, p.104631.
  3. J. H. Chen, Y. Ren, J. Seow, T. Liu, W. S. Bang, and H. G. Yuk, “Intervention technologies for ensuring microbiological safety of meat: current and future trends,” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 119–132, 2012.
  4. Trienekens, J. and Zuurbier, P., 2008. Quality and safety standards in the food industry, developments and challenges. International journal of production economics, 113(1), pp.107-122.
GMO Laws

There are several restrictions regarding the use of GMO crops as animal feeds. However, there is a general acceptance of the use of GMOs amongst stakeholders with many accepting their use. Most GMOs are imported and they are not grown commercially. There are prohibitions of growing such crops in the UK. However, when one wants to plant GMOs thorough assessment to ensure they are safe to people and environment must take place. The general requirement by the UK government is that all foods whether for human or animals should be indicated whether they contain GMO or not. However, animal products like meet do not require labelling.

Pros of non-GMO Crops
  • When grown pesticides are not used making them free from chemicals that otherwise could cause growths in animal bodies.
  • The plants are rich in nutrients because they search far and wide in the place they are grow.
  • Where animal feeds are made from non-GMO crops it means that animals are never given any form of artificial drugs, chemicals and growth hormones that are likely to cause different forms of diseases.
  • Such crops do not require preservatives for storage, colours, and flavouring.
Cons of non-GMO Crops
  • Storage of such crops requires specialized approaches making it tedious to deal with them
  • They are labour intensive when compared to other forms of crops
  • The yields in the fields are lower compared to GMO crops
Animal Welfare

The UK has got strict regulations concerning livestock movement to different destination. Since animals get stressed with the change of environment requiring control measures that ensure animal welfare is protected. There are different factors that are associated with livestock movement in the UK with those involved in the processes choosing the most efficient means of transport to easily reach the consumers.

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Production procedures

The UK has set out regulations that have ensured higher standards are met. Through this the slaughter houses have turned out to be the most quality all over the world. Each of them is equipped with CCTV cameras all over. There are welfare standards that guide the husbandry procedures. To reduce stress, aggression and prevention unwanted pregnancies for immature female livestock castration is undertaken. To prevent injuries between animals and the handlers, dehorning or disbudding is undertaken amongst the livestock.

  1. Mazza, R., Soave, M., Morlacchini, M., Piva, G. and Marocco, A., 2005. Assessing the transfer of genetically modified DNA from feed to animal tissues. Transgenic research, 14(5), pp.775-784.
  2. Manning, L. and Baines, R.N., 2004. Effective management of food safety and quality. British Food Journal.
  3. Schmidt, S.M., Belisle, M. and Frommer, W.B., 2020. The evolving landscape around genome editing in agriculture: many countries have exempted or move to exempt forms of genome editing from GMO regulation of crop plants. EMBO reports, 21(6), p.e50680.
  4. Ellis, K.A., Billington, K., McNeil, B. and McKeegan, D.E.F., 2009. Public opinion on UK milk marketing and dairy cow welfare. Animal Welfare, 18(3), pp.267-282.
  5. T. Aymerich, P. A. Picouet, and J. M. Monfort, “Decontamination technologies for meat products,” Meat Science, vol. 78, no. 1-2, pp. 114–129, 2008.
  6. Buller, H., Blokhuis, H., Jensen, P. and Keeling, L., 2018. Towards farm animal welfare and sustainability. Animals, 8(6), p.81.

Table 1: farm animals with positive experiences offer many opportunities (Buller et al., 2018)

farm animals with positive experiences offer many opportunities
Banner Committee Proposals

When it comes to handling animals and using them for various activities, the UK has set out ethical principles that need to be followed. It is due to the ethical principles that the Banner Committee suggested when any new technology is introduced for breeding some moral standards must be made. One of the moral standards is that no harm/pain should be inflected in an animal. In case of any harm to an animal it should happen in a rational and the benefits should outweigh the realistic treatment. It is due to these that the role of livestock husbandry should belong to all those involved.

Also, there should be the freedom of expression when considering animal behaviour. Stockmen are required to show positive behaviour that are vital for normal and good welfare. The behaviours are meant to ensure that psychological needs and benefits to animal fitness is met. Through the British policy, animals are protected by laws so that they live quality life. One principle that ensures quality minimum requirements are met is application of uniformity to all animals in farms despite their species and husbandry.

Inspectors from the Meat Hygiene Service which forms part of the Food Standards Agencies are the ones who are responsible on how animals should enter slaughter houses. Their function is to ensure that ante- and post-mortem examination take place before the meat is allowed legally into the supply chain.

There is a conflict that arises between the economical and ethical implication of farming and consuming animal meat as food. Ethics indicate that animals should not suffer. On the other hand those who keep animals keep them as a source of food. Therefore, the situation represents conflict of interest.

Despite this it is important that those who farm animals to ensure quality of life for them to avoid much suffering while they are being converted into food. It is through this that labelling of foods should be done to indicate the commitment of those involved in the process in ensuring they are animal welfare-friendly.

Figure 2: Good and Bad Welfare (Fuseini et al., 2017)

Good and Bad Welfare
2) Meat production

Those who are in the business of meat production should ensure that the layout, construction and equipment ensure hygiene and spacious (check Box 3).

  1. A Dankowska et al, “Dectection of plant oil addition to cheese by synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy”, Dairy Sci and Tech 95 (2015) 413
  2. John Spink and Douglas Moyer, Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud, Journal of Food Science, 76 (2011) R157
  3. Henson, S. and Reardon, T., 2005. Private agri-food standards: Implications for food policy and the agri-food system. Food policy, 30(3), pp.241-253.
  4. Muldoon, J.C. and Williams, J.M., 2021. The challenges and future development of animal welfare education in the UK. Animal Welfare, 30(2), pp.197-209.

Box 3: Prerequisites for slaughterhouses

  • Food safety should not be compromised and it should not drain waste
  • The way the slaughterhouse is constructed should allow ante-mortem inspections that include identifying of farm animals.
  • For a slaughterhouse to avoid contamination, it’s important to have enough rooms for its operations. The cleaning areas for the intestines and stomach should be separate.
  • The slaughterhouse should ensure separation in space and time are created for stunning and bleeding, dispatching meat, receiving clean tripe and guts, and having installations to avoid contact with the meat, floors, walls, and fixtures.
  • There must be equipment that is lockable for keeping refrigerated meat. The slaughterhouse should also have a separate facility for keeping meat that is unfit for consumption.
Sanitation is paramount

The meat supposed to be cut gradually brought to the workroom as required. After the meat is cut, bones removed, diced, wrapped, and paced, it should be kept at a temperature of not more than 4 degrees Celsius with ambient temperatures that do not exceed 12 degrees Celsius or use a different system with a similar effect.

It is pretty standard adding sodium chloride to meat products will improve the standard like water holding capacity, emulsification capacity, juiciness, and texture. Although it is not easy to separate all the salt from the meat and meat products, the content of salt can be lowered by salt substitutes, flavor enhancers, textual enhancers, and other processing technologies like hot-boning and high pressure, radiation, and pulsed electric field.

Preservation measures

chemical preservatives can be employed, like acetic acid and phosphates ascorbic acid, to preserve the meat and meat products. The ascorbic acid has antioxidant elements that improve the antimicrobial property of sulphites and nitrates in meat. On the other hand, phosphates have antioxidant features in meat products and lower oxidation by retarding rancidity.

Meat decontamination methods such as steam pasteurization, applying antimicrobial chemicals, packaging, and use of hurdle technologies are the best control methods for reducing the levels of bacterial contamination. Executing these technologies in meat processing units leads to significant enhancements in the microbiological safety of fresh meat.

Ethics and Health Concerns
  1. Bakhtiary, F., Sayevand, H.R., Remely, M., Hippe, B., Hosseini, H. and Haslberger, A.G., 2016. Evaluation of bacterial contamination sources in meat production line. Journal of food quality, 39(6), pp.750-756.
  2. Iannetti, L., Neri, D., Santarelli, G.A., Cotturone, G., Vulpiani, M.P., Salini, R., Antoci, S., Di Serafino, G., Di Giannatale, E., Pomilio, F. and Messori, S., 2020. Animal welfare and microbiological safety of meat: Impact of different at-farm animal welfare levels on at-slaughterhouse Campylobacter and Salmonella contamination. Food Control, 109, p.106921.
  3. Thomas, A.M., White, G.R., Plant, E. and Zhou, P., 2017. Challenges and practices in Halal meat preparation: a case study investigation of a UK slaughterhouse. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 28(1-2), pp.12-31.
  4. “Elliot review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks – final report”, HM Government PB 14192, July 2014
  5. Bakhtiary, F., Sayevand, H.R., Remely, M., Hippe, B., Hosseini, H. and Haslberger, A.G., 2016. Evaluation of bacterial contamination sources in meat production line. Journal of food quality, 39(6), pp.750-756.
  6. “Global Standard Food Safety Issue 8”, British Retail Consortium, London, UK, 2018
  7. M Esteki et al “Qualitative and quantitative analysis of peanut adulteration in almond powder samples using multi-element fingerprinting combined with multivariate data analysis” Food Control 82(2017) 31

The high intake of meat and increased demand for meat in the UK brings many persistence and prolonged environmental and social degradation issues. Further, the problems intensify and impact climate change with its related risks, water pollution, water stress, and loss in biodiversity. The associated socio-economic factors such as food security and personal health and displacement and impoverishment of meat-consuming communities are challenging. There is a pressing need for policy change for meat consumption to lower the future destruction of the environment.

Meat Safety and Quality Control

It is essential to determine the fat content in meat and meat products for consumers and meatpacking industries. The Government Regulatory Agencies typically represent the meat consumers. Fat content in meat is of utmost importance. A specific level of fat content in meat is desirable.

They should always ensure that the hygiene levels are maintained to avoid any form of contamination. Understanding the level of ions to avoid some causing harm to the bodies. Also, it is important to ensure standards are set so that those in the meat production business meet the required levels and quality that will protect the public from any kind of risk. Due to the control levels that the industry currently faces, it is the reason why the method was chosen.

Dry ether extraction procedure for determining fat in meat

The method of dry extraction is the widely used procedure in determining fat in meat and meat products (In Box 4 below, the main techniques are outlined).

  • The method requires weighing 3-4g of ground meat specimen into a thimble with tiny quantities of sand or asbestos, then drying it in ovens for six-hour with a temperature of between 100 and 102 degrees Celsius or one-and-a-half hours at 125degrees Celsius.
  • The dried meat specimen is then removed with petroleum or anhydrous between fourteen and sixteen hours.
  • The dried meat sample is dried for additional thirty minutes at 100 degrees Celsius, then cooled and weighed then; the weight is either reported as ether extract or crude fat.
  • There are two kinds of apparatus mainly employed for continuous ether extraction. The quick extractor is the Goldfish apparatus, where a pair of results from one specimen can be achieved by drying the residue with the ether extract. Most manufacturers have claimed that the current model can give the required results in two or four hours and is relevant in any place.
Authentication and identification of meat

All meat requires a food label to lay out some necessary information. The law needs food to usually oblige food requirements labelling and labels supposed to be correct and not misleading. The labels should have lists of ingredients, food name, information about allergy, net quantity, storage conditions, and labelling date, name and date of manufacturer, preparation instruction, place of provenance, and nutritional declaration. In England, the Food Information Regulations 2014 permits the implementation of the European Food Information to Consumers Regulation 1169/2011.

  1. A Dankowska et al, “Application of synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy with multivariate data analysis for determination of butter adulteration”, Int J Food Sci Tech, 49 (2014) 2628
  2. MP Calloa and I Ruisanchez, “An overview of multivariate qualitative methods for food fraud analysis”, Food Control 86 (2018) 283
  3. Fuseini, A., Wotton, S.B., Knowles, T.G. and Hadley, P.J., 2017. Halal meat fraud and safety issues in the UK: a review in the context of the European Union. Food Ethics, 1(2), pp.127-142.
  4. J Points, in “Horizonscan occasional articles 4: Food and feed authenticity – recent trends”, published by Fera Science Ltd, York, UK, 2016.
  5. SA Haughey et al, “A comprehensive strategy to detect the fraudulent adulteration of herbs: The oregano approach”, Food Chemistry 2010 (2016) 551

Meat species identification and animal authentication in meat and related products is a worthy and critical area of worry, which leads to fair trade in the UK and enhances consumers' informed choices. Analytical methods, in most instances, are based on the measurement of protein and DNA. Methods that depend on protein fractions are electrophoretic, chromatographic, and immunological methods that cannot separate meat species. DNA technology advancements have led to fast developments of other methods to species identification, like a polymerase chain reaction. Other developments include D18S51 and TPOX for excluding human origin or contamination or adulteration, or short tandem repeats loci.


Maintaining flavour stability, water-binding and protein functionality, phosphate plays an important role. The food crops that animals consume contain phosphates that originate from the natural withering process or fertilizers that are applied. With consumers in the UK demanding clean meet the use of phosphates is reducing. Due to risk concerns associated with phosphates, several consumers have been cautious on the level of phosphates especially in meat. It is due to these reasons that testing of phosphorous concentrations to ensure the levels are at required levels. However, it should be noted that quality meat should be obtained from proper feeding of livestock. 95% of the animals in the UK feed on GMO crops. GMOs do not affect the DNA of animals though they frequently consume them. The GMOs have got benefits to animal bodies like increased antibiotic resistance, nutrients, and cheap to get. Those in the meat business should be open and indicate the level of phosphorous used to avoid excess levels. It is important that customers are educated about the levels that are sufficient when it comes to phosphorous levels. Other than phosphorous, it is important that other ion levels should be considered. Another important aspect is animal welfare which ensures sustainability of meat production and ethical principles in any organization. Meat production requires proper controls as indicated above.

I could recommend strict regulation of farming of livestock and meat production process as it ensures the quality of life for both animals and the consumers is protected.

  1. Aguiar, V.R., Malta, F.S., Bosque, A.G., Almeida, V.C., Pardini, V.C., Ferreira, A.C. and Louro, I.D., 2011. Updated Brazilian STR allele frequency data using over 100,000 individuals: an analysis of CSF1PO, D3S1358, D5S818, D7S820, D8S1179, D13S317, D16S539, D18S51, D21S11, FGA, Penta D, Penta E, TH01, TPOX and vWA loci. Forensic Science international. Genetics, 6(4), pp.504-509.

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