FDA Set to Clear Sale of Cloned Livestock
Frankenmeat and frankendairy may (unfortunately) be making an appearance at your local grocery store sooner than you think. Following six years of (supposedly) careful deliberation, the FDA is expected to announce early next week that it deems food from cloned livestock to be perfectly safe to eat.
Companies such as ViaGen Inc. - which have already been experimenting with cloning - would be expected to benefit from such a ruling; because cloned cattle would primarily be used for breeding, it will take another 3 - 5 years before consumers can buy milk and meat from their offspring. Many segments of the food industry, however, are solidly against this decision; they cite the lack of an enforceable tracking system to monitor the production of cloned items as a significant concern.Consumer groups have been up in arms, citing ethical worries and the lack of sufficient data to ascertain the products' safety as prime concerns. Such a decision would likely also lead to a backlash from the Congress and, perhaps more crucially, from other markets, particularly the European Union. It already bans most meat imported from the U.S. due to the presence of growth hormones, and it could decide to ban entirely the import of cloned food for health and safety decision.
Barbara A. Mikulski, a Democratic senator from Maryland, has inserted an amendment in the farm bill that would require the FDA to wait until further studies are conducted before finalizing its decision on food from cloned livestock. The Center for Food Safety, a consumer-advocacy group, has filed a petition asking for the FDA to regulate cloned livestock as an "animal drug."
See also: ::Food from Clones has Questionable Benefits, Certain Drawbacks, ::Eating Meat and Drinking Milk…From Clones?
Image courtesy of Jack Plunkett/Bloomberg News