FDA Declares Cloned Livestock Safe to Eat
December 30, 2006 3:16 PM
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The recent decision by the FDA will only ignite a debate for years to come
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently made a
tentative conclusion that meat and milk from some cloned animals is safe for human consumption
The decision has paved the way for the United States to become the first nation that allows products from cloned animals to be sold in grocery stores.
After years of numerous delays, the FDA report found that there is not much of a difference in composition of food from cloned animals compared to normal animals. Even if the FDA's assessment is officially approved in 2007, consumers may not be able to products from cloned animals since the technology remains too costly to be widely used.
The decision on Thursday immediately drew comments from critics from across the nation.
Opponents to cloned food are aiming to throw Congressional pressure to delay the policy before it is finalized.
Consumer groups are gravely concerned over potential health issues that may arise in some of the cloned animals.
Some cloned animals may have weakened immune systems and will need more drugs to stay healthy, according to activists and critics.
Don't be surprised if you begin seeing some sort of "clone-free" labels on meat and dairy products from cloned animals.
Ben & Jerry's ice cream, for example, already mentions that its farmers do not use any sort of bovine growth hormone on its cows.
Many opponents are not necessarily against cloned food, but want to make sure consumers know exactly what they are purchasing.
The FDA found, however, that there is "no science-based reason" for having to label cloned foods.
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RE: Still thinking there is a risk...
1/2/2007 2:40:15 PM
I agree to a certain extent. The major risk I see with the cloning of animals is a lack of genetic diversity of "foodstuff animals" over time. It would take a long time to seriously harm it but it could possibly happen although I think the chance is small.
I'll use cows for an example. Let's say there are about twenty different cows that produce the exact traits desired for twenty different uses. The cows were engineered to bring this about. There is small incentive to keep other breeds of cow around as they are not desired. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this. However, what happens if there is some type of plague or disease that affects a certain type of types of cows? Never count out plague and disease. Mad cow has caused how many cattle to be wasted. It's conceivable the disease or plague could wipe out a large majority or more of the certain breed or breeds of cow. As of now, I wouldn't worry too much about that as each cow is different. Cloning means each cow of that type is supposed to be identical or very close to it.
I'm not saying any of this would happen and what I outlined is an extreme case, but it is possible.
As far as I'm concerned, I have no problem with cloned food as long as it's safe to eat and tastes at least as good as what I'm accustomed to eating. Hell, slap a cloned hamburger on a plate in front of me and as long as it meets my two conditions I'll inhale it in no time.
I don't see any reason for the government to mandate that a company label their product as coming from cloned animals. As already mentioned, let the companies that want to market their stuff as non-cloned do just that. If there are so many people against cloned food, the companies that market non-cloned food will put the cloned food people out of business. I don't think they'll put cloned food companies out of business, though.
Also, you won't see cloned food for everyone for a while. The price concerns at this point rule that out. However, if they can get a great tasting cow cloned and it keeps that flavor through each cow or generation, you'll see that marketed at a higher price for the consistent great taste and quality. After the price of producing the food drops, you'll see an increased amount of the food enter the market which will lower prices.
I don't think there are or will be any major health issues with cloned animals for food, but I still have some reservations about some of the possible long term effects. However, my reservations are not strong enough for me to think the project should be stopped.
RE: Still thinking there is a risk...
1/2/2007 3:01:10 PM
> "However, what happens if there is some type of plague or disease that affects a certain type of types of cows?"
There's a flip side to that coin. Genetically homogenous livestock means that medicines and medical treatments work better also. You don't have the situation you do with human medicines, where some people don't respond, have allergic reactions, etc.
And I don't think bioengineering implies a loss of biodiversity. Quite the opposite, in fact. Instead of one species of cow, we can design one specifically for "milk production, grain-fed, in Wisconsin-area weather conditions". Another specifically for beef production, Montana weather, range-fed. Etc, etc.
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