FDA: Cloned Animals OK For Human Consumption

Posted on January 16, 2008

The FDA says clones are ok to eat. The FDA's food safety chief Dr. Stephen Sundlof said that they "found nothing in the food that could potentially be hazardous. The food in every respect is indistinguishable from food from any other animal." The Associated Press reports that two companies have alread produced over 600 cloned animals for U.S. breeders.

The two main U.S. cloning companies, Viagen Inc. and Trans Ova Genetics, already have produced more than 600 cloned animals for U.S. breeders, including copies of prize-winning cows and rodeo bulls. They agreed to USDA's call for a continued moratorium Tuesday, but stressed that it applied only to clones themselves, not those animals' conventionally produced offspring, which can begin selling immediately.

The FDA spent six years tracking the safety of cloning, and its decision was long expected, but it came after an emotional fight by opponents. Congress passed legislation last month urging further study of the issue, a call echoed by consumer advocates who also asked that foods from cloned animals be labeled as such.

Their objections aren't just about food safety but also include animal welfare since many attempts at livestock cloning still end in fatal birth defects.

"If you have moral objections to a particular food, or ethical objections to them, FDA's saying, 'Tough, you've got to eat it,'" said Carol Tucker-Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America, who pledged to push for more food producers to shun clone-derived ingredients.

"The FDA did not give adequate consideration to the welfare of these animals or their surrogate mothers," said Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States.

The FDA also said, "It is beyond our imagination to even find a theory that would cause the food to be unsafe." There are many that disagree with the FDA and would argue that the FDA is not being nearly imaginative enough. Six years does not seem like enough time to make a decision. This is something new that we are very unfamiliar with. It may very well turn out that cloned animals are no less nutritious and healthy for humans to eat than non-cloned animals but could a few more years of tests really hurt?

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