Back in March I recieved an article from Shop Natural Co-op about cloned meat and dairy being sold in stores with no labels to let you know where it came from. There was a link at the bottom of the article to let them know that you do not want cloned meat or dairy sold in stores, especially without any labeling. Well, I sent in my comments and then actually forgot about it. Last night I was watching tv and they had a teaser for that nights news story and there it was again!!! I wasn’t able to stay up to watch the news, but I am horrified! Who really wants to eat meat or drink milk from a cloned cow!!! Choose wisely. Here is the original article from Shop Natural Co-op:
FDA Gives Preliminary Approval for Cloned Meat and Dairy Products
Article by Reggie Smith, ShopNatural General Manager.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back down the meat aisle, comes a new policy from the Food and Drug Administration approving the use of cloned animals for meat and dairy products. The decision apparently benefits only two or three cloning facilities nationwide. With little data, other than that supplied by the cloning companies, Via-gen and Cyagra, the FDA determined that cloned meat is “virtually” the same as meat from animals that are bred naturally or through artificial insemination.
If the FDA proposal is adopted, the United States will become the first country to allow meat and dairy products from cloned animals to be sold commercially. This change would end a moratorium on the sale of cloned meat and dairy.
The two cloning companies, who stand to gain considerably if this is passed, provided most of the data that the FDA relied on in its decision-making according to the Cornucopia Institute. Independent consumer and farm groups disagree with the data and the conclusions.
Cloning involves replicating an animal exactly – taking the complete “genetic code” of the donor animal and implanting the embryo into a surrogate mother. The offspring is an exact genetic duplicate. Classic breeding, by natural methods or artificial insemination, joins the genetic material of two animals and this can result in natural changes and “chance” that would normally occur in classic breeding. The current interest in cloning revolves around the financial gain in breeding replicates of a prized meat producing animal, superior breeding stock, or a dairy cow that produces large amounts of milk for example. The only draw to this type of breeding is financial: the economic benefit far outweighs the proven adverse health issues and higher death rate in cloned animals.
The health risks and deformities inherent in the cloning process can be horrific. The FDA documents health risks for the surrogate animals as well as the offspring. These abnormalities can be physical deformities that can appear in more than 50% of cloned cattle. Surrogate animals are more likely to die during pregnancy and the failure rate of cloned offspring can be reportedly as high as 90%. The FDA has gone so far as to address the concerns about the amount of damaged and deformed animals that will result in cloning. The FDA report states: “Increased risks of adverse health outcomes have been observed in surrogate dames and very young clones. Working with professional societies dedicated to animal health and the care of food-producing animals…, FDA will encourage the development of standards of care for animals involved in the cloning process (ie. clones and their surrogated dames).”
At this time, almost 60% of Americans surveyed said they would not want to eat meat from cloned animals even with assurance from the FDA. The FDA however does not intend to require labels on the meat or dairy products from clones. Products would be on shelves with no way for a consumer to know if they were buying cloned meat or dairy.
At this point certified organic meat and dairy products would not be allowed to use cloned animals but this is a slippery slope. Since many cloned animals are intended for classic breeding and the FDA does not intend to have any tracking system for clones, many in the food industry worry that the cloned animals and their offspring will be introduced into organic farms without the knowledge of the farmers.
The rapidity at which the FDA allowed bioengineered plants and animal products into the food supply has resulted in lawsuits, problems with cross contamination of crops and led to the recall of a number of organic products that showed contamination. This rush to allow cloned animals and dairy products into the general food supply seems to bring more questions than answers. The fact that the companies that stand to gain financially provided most of the data that the FDA relied on adds to the questionable nature of this decision.
We urge you to contact the FDA with any concerns you may have. You have until April 2nd to make your thoughts known on this. Never underestimate your ability to affect the outcome of these types of decisions.
Electronic comments may be sent to the FDA. Go to FDA.gov and click on animal cloning on the right hand side under Hot Topics. At the bottom of the page is a submit comments button. Click on that and proceed.