FDA Cloned Food Decision Imminent

It looks as though cloned foods will be getting the OK from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) very soon. The Washington Post received an advance copy of the highly anticipated, nearly 1,000 page “Final Risk Assessment” report from the FDA regarding their findings about the safety of meat and milk from cloned animals. The paper states that, according to the report, meat and milk from clones is—for the most part—safe to eat. The paper reported the news today, receiving the report ahead of its release; the FDA is planning to release the report later today. Despite the FDA’s findings on cloned foods, many will likely continue to question the <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">safety of such foods.

In cloning, genes from an animal with desirable characteristics are inserted into an unfertilized egg that can grow into an exact duplicate of the parent. The procedure is meant to produce meatier, disease-resistant animals; however, cloning produces a high proportion of deformed animals unable to survive. Scientists say these rates are likely to decline as technology improves. Advocates argue that humans would not suffer because unhealthy clones would be excluded from the food chain, as is the case with conventionally bred animals.

The report states the FDA measured vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, and B12 as well as niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, fatty acids, cholesterol, fat, protein, amino acids, and lactose in meat and milk from 600 cloned animals, including cattle and pigs. The report confirmed that the levels tested all looked normal and there were no health effects in animals fed meat and milk from cloned animals for more than three months. “Food from cattle, swine, and goat clones is as safe to eat as that from their more conventionally-bred counterparts,” the newspaper quotes from the report adding that the report concluded there was not enough information to rule on the safety of food from cloned sheep and that food from newborn cloned cattle, which often are abnormal, “may pose some very limited human food consumption risk.”

Meanwhile, last week, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also approved the safety of meat and milk from cloned animals.

“Moral, religious and ethical concerns … have been raised,” the newspaper quotes the FDA as saying; however, the FDA opted to make their final decision only based on the science of cloning. Many consumer and religious groups strongly oppose cloning, saying that scientists don’t know the technology’s full effects on nutrition and biology. Advocates argue that cloning will help produce more milk and lean, tender meat by creating more disease-resistant animals. Because cloning is so costly, experts feel clones will not be used to provide meat and milk, rather prize animals will be cloned and the cloned animals bred conventionally.

The newspaper quoted Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety—an advocacy group that petitioned the FDA to restrict the sale of food from clones—as saying his group was considering legal action. “One of the amazing things about this is that at a time when we have a readily acknowledged crisis in our food safety system, the FDA is spending its resources and energy and political capital on releasing a safety assessment for something that no one but a handful of companies wants.”

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