Foods From Cloned Animals Safe to Eat: FDA

TUESDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Food products such as meat and milk that come from cloned animals are as safe to eat as foods from conventionally bred animals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The announcement seemingly lifts the last government barrier to the sale of meat, milk and other food products from cloned cattle, swine, goats and their offspring.

However, food producers suggested they would move slowly before embracing the controversial technology, to gauge consumer reaction to the possibility of eating foods from cloned animals and their progeny.

"Meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones are as safe as food we eat every day," Dr. Stephen Sundlof, the FDA's director of the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said during a teleconference Tuesday.

"USDA [the U.S. Department of Agriculture] fully supports and agrees with the FDA final assessment. Meat and milk from cloned cattle, swine and goats, and their offspring, pose no safety concern, and these products are no different than food from conventionally bred animals," added Bruce I. Knight, Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the USDA.

Knight noted there are only about 600 animal clones in the United States, and most of these are breeding animals. "So, few clones will ever arrive at the marketplace," he said.

The announcement reaffirms the FDA's decision almost four years ago that food from cloned animals and their offspring was safe. The agency said additional studies confirmed its initial finding.

"Following extensive review, the risk assessment did not identify any unique risks for human food from cattle, swine or goat clones, and concluded that there is sufficient information to determine that food from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as that from their more conventionally bred counterparts," the agency said in a statement.

The FDA noted there isn't enough scientific information to say that foods from clones of other animals -- specifically sheep -- are safe for human consumption.

However, at least one food-industry group said it was going to measure consumer response before starting to promote products from cloned animals.

"We appreciate FDA's careful review of the science surrounding cloning," James H. Hodges, president of the American Meat Institute, said in a statement. "Clearly, however, the cloning of animals is a new technology, and our members will evaluate it, as well as consumer attitudes, very carefully."

"The meat industry has a history of analyzing the science surrounding technology and striving to meet consumer demand regarding our products," Hodges added. "We intend to do so going forward."

And several large companies -- including dairy giant Dean Foods Co. and Hormel Foods Corp. -- have said they have no plans to sell milk or meat from cloned animals because of consumer concerns, the Associated Press reported.

The FDA isn't requiring labeling or any other additional measures for food from cattle, swine or goat clones, or their offspring, because food derived from these sources doesn't present a safety problem, Sundlof said.

If a producer wanted to voluntarily label a product as "clone-free," each request would be considered on a "case-by-case basis" to make sure such claims were truthful, agency officials said in a statement.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...