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News archive: January 2008

Cloned meat cleared for the US

US farmers have been given the green light to produce cloned meat for the human food chain. In a report billed as a “final risk assessment” of the technology, the US Food and Drug Administration has concluded that healthy cloned animals and products from them such as milk are safe for consumers.

The announcement follows the launch of a public consultation on the issue by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Its “draft opinion” on the technology gave provisional backing on the grounds that there was no evidence for food safety or environmental concerns.

Joyce D’Silva, of Compassion in World Farming describes it as “…a technology that has arisen out of a huge burden of animal suffering and that is still going on.” She said even if the embryo loss rates were brought down to acceptable levels, the technology would be detrimental to animal welfare. “It looks like it is going to be used to produce the most highly productive animals… These are the high-producing animals that have the most endemic welfare problems anyway.”

The UK National Farmers’ Union has adopted a wait-and-see attitude to the technology. Helen Ferrier, the NFU’s food science adviser said, “Generally our views on the safety or the acceptability etc are really based on the opinions of independent scientific experts.” If cloning is adopted she said the NFU did not favor labeling cloned meat.

“If the product is absolutely the same as its equivalent but using a different system, it’s not necessarily very useful to label it, because it’s misleading to the consumer and it’s impossible to enforce.”

OrganicFoodee.com thinks otherwise. Consumers want the facts about what they are eating. It’s our basic right to have cloned meat clearly labeled so we can choose to buy it or not to buy it. Until cloned meat is labeled, the only way to avoid eating it is to buy organic meat, as organic meat by law cannot be cloned.

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