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Randy Buckner

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Cloned food -- will you eat it?

by Randy Buckner » Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:47 pm

FDA Expected to Rule on Cloned Food This Week

Updated 3:20 PM ET December 27, 2006

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make an important ruling this week on the future of meat and milk from cloned animals.

Just 10 years after Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be successfully cloned, food products from cloned animals could soon become available on grocery store shelves nationwide.

In what is seen as a preview of an FDA ruling expected this week, FDA scientists say in a new study that they have found that food from cloned animals is safe to eat.

"Meat and milk from clones and their progeny is as safe to eat" as food that isn't produced through cloning, the report said.

Regardless of the FDA's decision, it's not expected to quell the controversy over cloned foods.

"We are not convinced that this is safe food," Jaydee Hanson of the Center for Food Safety told "Good Morning America." "And we haven't seen the facts that would convince us," Hanson said.

Some farmers and ranchers already clone animals, but a voluntary moratorium imposed by the FDA has kept that meat and milk off store shelves.

The public seems skeptical about changing that. In a poll taken earlier this year, 65 percent called cloning animals morally wrong. Another poll found that 45 percent opposed using cloning in food production.

If FDA approval goes through, the question is how and whether cloned meat and milk will be clearly marked so consumers know what they're buying. Experts say that may be unlikely.

"It's very possible that these products will end up on the grocery store shelves without any specific label identifying them as having come from cloned animals," said Michael Fernandez, executive director of the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Cloned food -- will you eat it?

by Robin Garr » Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:41 pm

Randy Buckner wrote:The public seems skeptical about changing that. In a poll taken earlier this year, 65 percent called cloning animals morally wrong. Another poll found that 45 percent opposed using cloning in food production.


I'm generally among the first to be skeptical about the level of care that the corporate sector brings to worrying about consumer health and safety when there's profit to be made, but that said, it seems to me that the morality issue and the food-safety issue need to be separated here.

Cloning by definition yields a DNA-exact duplicate of the original animal, so it's hard for me to see how food safety comes in. If there's concern about the morality and ethics of it, let that be subject to robust public debate: But don't cloud the issue by tying it to an illusory concern about health and safety.

That's my 2¢ worth, anyway ...
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Stuart Yaniger

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Re: Cloned food -- will you eat it?

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:22 pm

We do drink wine made from grapes.
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Hoke

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Re: Cloned food -- will you eat it?

by Hoke » Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:38 pm

"voluntary moratorium imposed by the FDA"

That's an interesting phrase.
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Cloned food -- will you eat it?

by Larry Greenly » Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:24 pm

If Cow B is genetically identical to natural Cow A, what's the difference? You might make an argument against genetically altered foods, but how can a clone be a problem? Suppose Cow B was born as an identical twin to Cow A, would you hesitate to eat it?
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Cloned food -- will you eat it?

by Paul Winalski » Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:25 am

As Stuart points out, cloning is a natural phenomenon in the plant kingdom. All of our apples, and all of the grapes used in winemaking, are the product of cloning.

Robin correctly observes that cloning is a separate issue from genetic engineering. Identical twins, triplets, and quadruplets are examples of natural cloning among animals and humans. I, too, can see no food safety issue involved.

What I'm more hard-pressed to figure out is why farmers of meat animals would be bothered with such a complicated and expensive technique, when simple breeding seems to yield fine results. Unless they're coupling cloning with genetic engineering. But there it's the genetic engineering aspect that is bothersome, not the cloning.

-Paul W.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Cloned food -- will you eat it?

by Howie Hart » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:50 am

I don't know about food, but I'll bet that someplace, somebody is cloning Secratariat. :wink:

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