Despite Lack of Science and Strong Public Concern, FDA
Expected to OK Food From Cloned Animals
Inadequate Safety Review Threatens U.S. Food Supply
and Animal Welfare
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 26, 2006
Contact: Joseph Mendelson, CFS, (202) 547-9359, (703)
244-1724 (cell); Andrew Kimbrell, CFS, (202)
547-9359, (703) 927-2826 (cell)
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) is expected later this week to release a
preliminary safety assessment that clears the way for
marketing of meat and dairy products from cloned
animals for human consumption. The assessment and the
agency's expected endorsement of cloned food comes
despite widespread concern among scientists and food
safety advocates over the safety of such products. The
move to market cloned milk and meat also flies in the
face of dairy and food industry concern and recent
consumer opinion polls showing that most Americans do
not want these experimental foods.
GM WATCH COMMENT: According to this Associated Press
piece, the US government is expected to declare today
that cloned animals are safe to go into the human food
There has, of course, been no public debate about
whether US citizens, let alone the recipients of US
exports, wish to consume milk and meat from cloned
And this isn't just an issue of democratic deficit.
A spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry
Organization is quoted in the article as saying, "We
clone an animal because we want a genetic twin of that
animal. It's not a genetically engineered animal; no
genes have been changed or moved or deleted."
But we know clones are very far indeed from perfect
copies and that all clones are, in one way or another,
defective with multiple flaws embedded in their
genomes. Rudolf Jaenisch, a geneticist at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimates that
something like 4-5% of the genes in a cloned animal's
genome are expressed incorrectly.
And these genetic defects can have tangible results -
some subtle and hard to reckon but others all too
clear. Some clones have been born with incomplete body
walls or with abnormalities in their hearts, kidneys
or brain function, or have suffered problems like
"adult clone sudden death syndrome" and premature
Quite apart from the uncertainties, and any health
concerns, the defects of clones may pose for
consumers, people might well wish to avoid the
products of a process that is so disastrous for animal
welfare. But, as with GM, they won't be given the
choice - food from clones will not be labelled.
From rogue GMOs in your rice to pharmaceuticals in
your corn flakes, to cloned beef in your burger,
America's food chain is shaping up as the world's most
EXTRACT: "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
The consumer federation will ask food companies and
supermarkets to refuse to sell food from clones, she
"Meat and milk from cloned animals have no benefit for
consumers, and consumers don't want them in their
foods," Foreman said.
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