by Catherine Greenleaf
Is suet really safe for wild birds? That depends on what brand or type you buy. Did you know that some brands of suet contain Red Dye #40, FD and C Yellow Dyes #5 and #6, Blue Dye #1, sodium benzoate, sucrose, tartaric acid, and other artificial flavorings? In addition, many brands of suet contain ingredients that are genetically modified. Some even contain high-fructose corn syrup (the same holds true for commercially prepared hummingbird nectar).
While not many studies have been performed involving GMO foods and birds, there have been a number of GMO studies performed on rats and mice. These animals, fed GMO food products, developed damaged internal organs, abnormal tumors, decreased fertility, and increased infant mortality.
Can the bird enthusiast avoid suet with GMO food products? Not likely, since 85 percent of all corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are now genetically modified. In addition, there is no law requiring companies to reveal if their products are genetically modified.
One way to avoid some of the dyes and artificial flavorings is to visit a local slaughterhouse and buy your own bags of rendered beef fat. However, you may still end up with suet that has been tainted by hormones and antibiotics.
There is one company that claims to make organic suet. You can contact the company at www.birdsdonteatcows.com.