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FDA poised to approve food from cloned animals

by 5m Editor
28 December 2006, at 12:19pm

WASHINGTON - The government has decided that food from cloned animals is safe to eat and does not require special labeling.

The Food and Drug Administration planned to brief industry groups in advance of an announcement this morning. The FDA indicated it would approve cloned livestock in a scientific journal article published online earlier this month.

Consumer groups say labels are a must, because surveys have shown people to be uncomfortable with the idea of cloned livestock.

However, FDA concluded that cloned animals are "virtually indistinguishable" from conventional livestock and that no identification is needed to judge their safety for the food supply.

"Meat and milk from clones and their progeny is as safe to eat as corresponding products derived from animals produced using contemporary agricultural practices," FDA scientists Larisa Rudenko and John C. Matheson wrote in the Jan. 1 issue of Theriogenology.

Labels should only be used if the health characteristics of a food are significantly altered by how it is produced, said Barb Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

"The bottom line is, we don't want to misinform consumers with some sort of implied message of difference," Glenn said. "There is no difference. These foods are as safe as foods from animals that are raised conventionally."

Critics of cloning say the verdict is still out on the safety of food from cloned animals.

"Consumers are going to be having a product that has potential safety issues and has a whole load of ethical issues tied to it, without any labeling," said Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety.

Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America, said the FDA is ignoring research that shows cloning results in more deaths and deformed animals than other reproductive technologies.

Source: Associated Press

5m Editor