Do pigs fed genetically modified corn end up with the traces of the transgene in their flesh or blood? No, they do not, according to an intensive study of weaned pigs conducted by Southern Illinois University — Carbondale (SIUC).

Researchers put 56 weaned pigs on a diet with genetically modified corn. They then searched the pigs for traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the gastrointestinal tract (GI), the blood from the major vein out of the GI tract into the liver, the liver and muscle tissue. They found traces of the transgenes in most of the pigs' stomachs but only in one pig's small intestinal tract. After that, all samples for transgenes were negative.

“It seems like [transgenes] degrade rapidly,” reports Gary Apgar, SIUC. “Most, if not all, of the transgenic material is gone by the time the digesta is excreted. We found no evidence that it is absorbed [into the animal], and the risk of its coming out in the environment in the form of waste is nonexistent because we failed to find the gene in either the colon or the feces. While nothing can ever be guaranteed 100% safe, I think there's no need for concern [about eating meat from animals fed transgenic diets].”

The researchers used weaned pigs instead of 90-lb. grower pigs because the younger ones are more efficient at converting feed into gain, increasing the likelihood that they will absorb a transgene.