The potential for transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from genetically modified (GM) plant material to microbes through genetic recombination in the human or animal gut is a consideration that has engendered caution in the use of GM foods. This study was aimed at defining the optimal physical and chemical conditions necessary to ensure sufficient fragmentation of DNA in plant tissues to a size where it would be unlikely to be stably transferred to bacterial gut microflora. The ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase small subunit (Rubisco SS) genes are of similar size (approximately 1.4 kb) to transgenes present in GM plants. DNA analysis and PCR amplification of Rubisco SS genes showed that fresh maize and maize silage contained high molecular weight DNA and intact Rubisco SS genes. Relatively high temperatures and pressurised steam were necessary to degrade fully genomic DNA and Rubisco SS genes in maize and wheat grains, the source of most animal feedstuffs. Furthermore, chemical expulsion and extrusion of oilseeds resulted in residues with completely degraded genomic DNA. These results imply that stringent conditions are needed in the processing of GM plant tissues for feedstuffs to eliminate the possibility of transmission of transgenes.