Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

Cloned Food: An Update on the "Progress"
and What You Need to Know

The food industry is ready to put meat and milk from cloned animals onto your dinner table, but whether or not they'll get the chance is hinging on a final decision on the safety of cloned food by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

cloned food

It will be awhile longer before meat and milk from cloned animals reaches your dinner table.

At the end of December 2006, the FDA issued preliminary approval, stating that meat and milk from cloned animals or their offspring were virtually identical to food from conventional sources.

A 90-day public comment session followed, but it looked like cloned foods could appear in your supermarket in 2008.

Now that 2008 is upon us, it seems those opposed to cloned food have been given a reprieve: an amendment to the 2007 farm bill would require the FDA to further study the safety of cloned food before it reaches your dinner plate.

As it stands, the Senate has passed the amendment, but no such provision is included in the House version. This means that the amendment could be thrown out, or, more likely, a compromise could be reached in early 2008. If passed:

  • The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will arrange a panel of scientists to review the FDA's initial decision on the safety of cloned food (which some say was based on flawed science).

  • The NAS would be required to study the health impacts cloned foods could have on the U.S. food supply, including reduced milk consumption if consumers choose to avoid food from cloned animals.

  • The United States Department of Agriculture would have to examine consumer attitudes about cloned foods, along with their impacts on domestic and international markets.

Currently, 50 percent of U.S. consumes view cloning as unfavorable, according to a survey by the International Food Information Council. Meanwhile, 89 percent of Americans say they want food from cloned animals to be labeled, a survey by the Consumers Union found.

How Does Cloning Work?

Most cloning is done using a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). During this process, an egg from a female animal is obtained (often from ovaries in a slaughterhouse, according to the FDA) and the gene-containing nucleus is taken out. In its place, genetic material from a "donor" (that has desirable traits) is inserted and the resulting embryo is "coaxed" to fuse and start dividing. The embryo is then implanted into the uterus of a surrogate, which carries it to term and delivers it like any other offspring.

Eat REAL Food: Get Recipes From a Highly Recommended Cookbook, Alive in 5

Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes

In Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes, acclaimed raw chef Angela Elliott shows you how to whip up mouth-watering lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, broccoli in cheese sauce, apple pie, chocolate shakes, and more -- all in about five minutes, with easy-to-find ingredients and just a blender or food processor!

Order Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes Now!

"Clones are biological copies of animals," says Larisa Rudenko, Ph.D., a molecular biologist and senior adviser for biotechnology at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "They're similar to identical twins, but born at different times."

While proponents state that cloned meat and milk will provide consumers with a better product at a cheaper price, those opposed fear there may be undiscovered safety risks, and note that many object on moral grounds.

One safety issue that has already been raised has to do with drug residues. Since cloned animals are more likely to have genetic abnormalities, they may be given drugs that make the resulting food less healthy.

At the very least, consumer groups are pulling for food from cloned animals to be labeled as such, so people can make an informed decision.

"Before we allow cloned animals into our food supply, we must know more about it. When something is this new, unclear and uncertain, we need to be sure," said Senator Barbara Mikulski, one of the senators who advanced the farm bill amendment.

"Just because something has been created in a lab, doesn't mean we should have to eat it," she continued. "If we discover a problem with cloned food after it is in our food supply and it's not labeled, the FDA won't be able to recall it like they did Vioxx -- the food will already be tainted. We have been down this road before with product safety -- the FDA has a credibility crisis."

What Happens Next?

The Senate and House Agriculture Committees will meet to decide on the final farm bill in early 2008, and it's likely that it will be some time before cloned food products actually reach the market.

Said Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute of the Consumer Federation of America in Wired, "It would be very surprising if the FDA flouted the will of Congress and moved forward on the cloning issue."

Recommended Reading

The FDA Says Cloned Milk & Meat are A-Ok ... How Soon Before You'll be Eating It (Without Knowing It)?

What is REALLY in a Hot Dog? And How Unhealthy Are They?

Sources December 17, 2007 December 19, 2007

U.S. FDA: Animal Cloning and Food Safety

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This