Science

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Betsy Blaney/AP

Americans May Already Be Eating Offspring of Cloned Animals

September 04, 2008 08:58 AM
by Isabel Cowles
According to a recent announcement by the FDA, meat and byproducts from the offspring of cloned animals might already be in the U.S. food supply.
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The government recently announced that the meat from the offspring of cloned animals may have entered the U.S. food supply; however, there’s no way to be sure, as there is no distinction between meat from cloned animals and meat from their naturally born brethren.

The process may have started in January, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved products from cloned animals. According to the FDA Web site, “meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats, and the offspring of clones from any species traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.”

The FDA has refused to require labeling of food from cloned animals, arguing that there is nothing to report. According to NPR’s science correspondent Dan Charles, “There’s no strong evidence there is any health issue with food from clones.” Charles also noted that, “The FDA says that it can only make decisions based on the data … That’s why they say they have no authority to ask for or compel labeling of food from clones because they say the food is identical. But at the same time … they worry about market reaction. A lot of people feel kind of queasy about it.”

Manufacturers hope that by cloning their best animals, it will result in overall higher quality meat and milk. And according to CNN, “it is unlikely actual clones would be used in food production. A cloned cow costs $15,000 to $20,000 to create. More likely, experts said, the offspring of cloned animals would be used.”
Some fear that consumer uneasiness about cloned animals may hurt all farmers and manufacturers who sell animal products. According to Michael Hansen, senior scientist with Consumers Union, “People will start consuming less dairy and meat” if they are not sure of a product’s safety or origin.

Susan Davidson, director of corporate affairs with Kraft, said that “research in the U.S. indicates that consumers are currently not receptive to ingredients from cloned animals.” Consequently, Kraft and several other food manufacturers have decided to avoid using cloned animals in their products.

Related Topic: Surge in food nanotechnology worries consumers

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