December 28, 2006

Let Andy try it first

Andrew von Eschenbach, Commissioner of the FDA, that is. He should have to eat cloned meat for 10 years, at every meal and with GMO veggies on the side. He's got the job permanently, so he can be a captive cloned meat tester.

FDA: Cloned livestock is safe to eat
[My comments are added.]

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government declared Thursday that food from cloned animals is safe to eat.

After more than five years of study, the Food and Drug Administration concluded that cloned livestock is "virtually indistinguishable" from conventional livestock. [There's that word "virtually" which seems to mean something other than what it used to mean.]

FDA believes "that meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as the food we eat every day," said Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Officials said they don't think special labels are needed, although a decision on labeling is pending. [Well, that should come as no surprise. They aren't labeling GMOs or irradiated foods. Why should clones be any different?}

Because scientists concluded there is no difference between food from clones and food from other animals, "it would be unlikely that FDA would require labeling in those cases," Sundlof said. [Which scientists? I am going to research who they are. Can't believe they are scientists who have no financial arrangements with industry.]

Final approval is still months away; the agency will accept comments from the public for the next three months. [FDA is seeking comments from the public on the three documents for the next 90 days. To submit electronic comments on the three documents, visit Written comments may be sent to: Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD, 20852. Comments must be received by Apr. 2, 2007 and should include the docket number 2003N-0573.]

Critics of cloning say the verdict is still out on the safety of food from cloned animals. [How about the ethics?]

"Consumers are going to be having a product that has potential safety issues and has a whole load of ethical issues tied to it, without any labeling," said Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety.

Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America, said the FDA is ignoring research that shows cloning results in more deaths and deformed animals than other reproductive technologies. [Of course they are ignoring the results. They don't care about results, they only care about making more money for their corporate buddies. It is just the same in USDA/NIAA. Wake up!]

The consumer federation will ask food companies and supermarkets to refuse to sell food from clones, she said.

"Meat and milk from cloned animals have no benefit for consumers, and consumers don't want them in their foods," Foreman said.

However, FDA scientists said that by the time clones reached 6 to 18 months of age, they are virtually indistinguishable from conventionally bred animals. [Virtually again.]

Labels should only be used if the health characteristics of a food are significantly altered by how it is produced, said Barb Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. [So says a spokesperson for an industry organization. GMOs are proving to have altered health consquenses and yet no labeling is required for them.]

"The bottom line is, we don't want to misinform consumers with some sort of implied message of difference," Glenn said. "There is no difference. These foods are as safe as foods from animals that are raised conventionally." [Misinform consumers. It's being done all the time. FDA has a terrible track record of not informing the public with the truth. Look at the Zero grams of Transfats labeling lie. I don't trust the FDA.]

Those in favor of the technology say it would be used primarily for breeding and not for steak or pork tenderloin.

Cloning lets farmers and ranchers make copies of exceptional animals, such as pigs that fatten rapidly or cows that are superior milk producers.

"It's not a genetically engineered animal; no genes have been changed or moved or deleted," Glenn said. "It's simply a genetic twin that we can then use for future matings to improve the overall health and well-being of the herd." [From FDA: An animal clone is a genetic copy of a donor animal, similar to identical twins but born at different times. Cloning is not the same as genetic engineering, which involves altering, adding or deleting DNA; cloning does not change the gene sequence.]

Thus, consumers would mostly get food from their offspring and not the clones themselves, Glenn said.

Still, some clones would eventually end up in the food supply. As with conventional livestock, a cloned bull or cow that outlived its usefulness would probably wind up at a hamburger plant, and a cloned dairy cow would be milked during her breeding years. [I wonder if they have to be registered with NAIS tags.]

That's unlikely to happen soon, because FDA officials have asked farmers and cloning companies since 2001 to voluntarily keep clones and their offspring out of the food supply. The informal ban would remain in place for several months while FDA accepts comments from the public.

Approval of cloned livestock has taken five years because of pressure from big food companies nervous that consumers might reject milk and meat from cloned animals. [Who is going to consume anything from cloned animals? Only those forced to do so; prisoners, school children, WIC program families. Keep an eye on this one if your child eats a school lunch.]

To produce a clone, the nucleus of a donor egg is removed and replaced with the DNA of a cow, pig or other animal. [Wait a minute. What did FDA say cloning didn't involve? "Cloning is not the same as genetic engineering, which involves altering, adding or deleting DNA; cloning does not change the gene sequence." DNA is added or it isn't? ] A tiny electric shock coaxes the egg to grow into a copy of the original animal. Cloning companies say it's just another reproductive technology, such as artificial insemination, yet there can be differences between the two because of chance and environmental influences.

Some surveys have shown people to be uncomfortable with food from cloned animals; 64 percent said they were uncomfortable with such food in a September poll by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, a nonpartisan research group.

Here's the link for FDA's A Risk-Based Approach to Evaluate Animal Clones and Their Progeny - DRAFT


  1. tonygator ( PM

    this is the first time
    I've seriously felt like
    giving up meat. For some reason,
    the idea of not knowing
    whether the meat I'm eating is
    cloned makes me more queasy
    than any slaughter house
    documentary or e-coli pandemic.

    I see an immediate crash in
    hamburger consumption...

  2. Anonymous11:51 AM

    i guess ignorance reigns on this blog; once it has been cloned, it's an animal, stupid, no different from any other. It's like saying you won't let your kids play with the neighbors kid created through IVF, because we still don't know, maybe they carry disease..

    and, Grandma, virtually indistinguisable means just that, no conspiracy here; two hamburgers from cattle procreated by AI (cows and bulls don't have sex on farms BTW) are also virtually indistinguishable, they are not the "same" since they are two different hamburgers

  3. Anonymous11:55 AM

    can you read?!? try this again, when the hot flashes subside:

    To produce a clone, the nucleus of a donor egg is removed and replaced with the DNA of a cow, pig or other animal. [Wait a minute. What did FDA say cloning didn't involve? "Cloning is not the same as genetic engineering, which involves altering, adding or deleting DNA; cloning does not change the gene sequence." DNA is added or it isn't? ]

    The DNA is moved into the nucleus, it is not altered and nothing is added or deleted

  4. Anonymous12:15 PM

    Why will they not label it! Then people can decide if they want to eat cloned or GMO.


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