Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cloning and the United States Food Supply

As the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) currently debate over government control, potential ban, and labeling requirements of meat and dairy from cloned animals and their offspring, I thought it might be enlightening to examine the United States stance on these issues.  

In January 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final risk assessment on the safety of cloned animals and their offspring for public consumption.  Based on studies done by FDA scientists and published in this assessment report, all meat and dairy from clones and the offspring of clones is safe for human consumption.  

Additionally, the FDA determined that labeling of meat and dairy from cloned animals or a clone's offspring is not necessary.  Here is the FDA's official response to those in favor of labeling cloned products: 
"Because the risk assessment process has clearly shown that there are no food safety concerns for the meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones and the progeny (offspring) of all clones and that meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones and the progeny of all clones are not materially different from their conventional counterparts, we do not believe, at this time, that there is a material fact that would be required to be included in the labeling of these foods based on the fact they are from clones or the progeny of clones."
As a result of the FDA's decision, it is not a requirement in the United States for any product of cloned animals or their offspring to be labeled as such.  

There is, however, an option for those of us who wish to exercise our right to purchase and eat food from non-genetically engineered clones and their offspring.   The FDA has prohibited meat and dairy to be considered "certified organic" if it comes from cloned animals or their offspring.  As a result of the FDA's decision that labeling is not necessary on non-organic foods, the only way to ensure the purchase of non-cloned meat and dairy is to purchase certified organic products.  


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