FDA Moves Forward on Animal Cloning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved closer to allowing the sale of milk and meat that comes from cloned animals or their offspring. This week, the agency issued three documents related to the approval of the controversial measure and is seeking public commentary during the next three months.

“Based on FDA’s analysis of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and other studies on the health and food composition of clones and their offspring, the draft risk assessment has determined that meat and milk from clones and their offspring are as safe as food we eat every day,” said Stephen F. Sundlof, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Cloning poses no unique risks to animal health when compared to other assisted reproductive technologies currently in use in U.S. agriculture.”

The first document, a draft risk assessment, states that “meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs, and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.” The second document, a proposed risk management plan, discusses risks to animal safety and other uncertainties associated with feed and food from animal clones and their offspring. The last document, the draft guidance for industry, provides the agency’s “current thinking” on the use of clones and their offspring in human food or animal feed.

The FDA points out that, for the most part, clones would be used for breeding, but would rarely be used as food themselves. However, their offspring and descendents would be food stock.

“Because the release of the draft risk assessment and proposed risk management plan marks the beginning of our interaction with the public on these issues,” notes Sundlof, “we are continuing to ask producers of clones and livestock breeders to voluntarily refrain from introducing food products from these animals into commerce so that we will have the opportunity to consider the public’s comments and to issue any final documents as warranted.”

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