FDA: cloned animals are safe for food

January 15, 2008 8:46:13 PM PST
The U.S. government has declared that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe.

The Food and Drug Administration has spoken and according to their studies, consumers should have no beef from products derived from cloned animals.

"Meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones are as safe to eat as food we eat every day," said Food Safety Chief Dr. Stephen Sundloff.

It's the same conclusion reached by genetic researchers at UC Davis -- home to a cloned Holstein named Ditto and sheep sisters Ashley and Mary Kate.

"This is something that the scientists who've been involved in this work have been waiting for several years. As the FDA went through the various studies and data was accumulated to show that that these animals were indeed safe," said UC Davis genetic researcher James Murray Ph.D.

But others claim the FDA's official endorsement of products from cloned animals is at the very least, premature.

"This is very bad news for consumers. This is a radically new technology and the long-term health impact on humans is really unknown," said Elisa Odabashian from Consumers Union.

The FDA may say its okay, but don't expect meat from a cloned animal to show up in your favorite burger anytime soon.

For one thing, the FDA has asked those who cloned animals to continue a voluntary moratorium on the sale of product from them, for the time being.

So, the 22,000 pounds of milk produced by cloned animals like Ditto, will continue to be thrown out. But the milk from her offspring, could reach store shelves much sooner.

"There are no safety concerns with the offspring of clones, as no study shows to be any difference," said UC Davis researcher Allison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D.

Still, a Washington-based consumer group plans to sue the FDA, and California Senator Carole Migden may re-introduce legislation to require labeling on all cloned products sold in California.

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year.