Migden introduces cloned meat bill
By Elizabeth Daley, Bay City News Service
January 21, 2007
In response to draft documents issued by the FDA touting the
safety of cloned animal products, Senator Carole Migden, D-San
Francisco introduced legislation this week that would require
clear labeling of food products derived from cloned animals.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a cloned animal
is a genetic copy of a donor animal that is like an identical
twin, but born at a separate time.
In documents issued by the FDA on Dec. 28 officials claimed "meat
and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs and goats and their
offspring are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred
The FDA documents indicate clones will not generally be used
for food but, according to the report, "because of their
cost and rarity, clones will be used as any other breeding stock-to
pass on naturally-occurring, desirable traits such as disease
resistance and higher quality meat to production herds."
"Almost all the food that comes from the cloning process
is expected to come from sexually reproduced offspring and decedents
of clones, not the clones themselves," reads a statement
issued by the FDA.
However, in a future where many animals descend from clones,
it appears genetic variety that produces such things as disease
resistance may be more limited.
"Based on FDA's analysis of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications
and other studies on health and food composition of clones and
their offspring, the draft risk assessment has determined that
meat and milk from clones and their offspring are as safe as the
food we eat every day," said Stephen F. Sundlof, veterinarian
and director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.
"Cloning poses no unique risks to animal health when compared
to other assisted reproductive technologies currently in use in
U.S. agriculture," he said.
While risks, like the animals themselves, may not be "unique,"
many Americans, like Migden do not believe we should undertake
"Like a majority of Americans, I have concerns about why
cloned cows should be part of our food system," said Migden
in a statement.
According to Migden, a poll conducted in 2006 by the Pew Initiative
on Food and Biotechnology found two-thirds of American consumers
were "uncomfortable" with the idea of cloning animals
and 43 percent believe food from cloned animals would be unsafe
"Suddenly we are in a fever pitch to diversify food, but
we ought to pause and not be precipitous about human food safety,"
"Because the FDA's safety assessment was based on so little
data and because of the serious health problems of many experiment-cloned
animals, we believe that if food products from cloned animals
are introduced for sale in California, they should be labeled,
so that consumers can decide whether or not they want to buy them,"
said Elisa Odabashian, director of the West Coast office of the
The FDA will be accepting public comments on the three documents
outlining guidelines for the introduction of animal clones into
our food chain until April 2.
According to Migden, if cloned food products were introduced
into the market America would be the first country to dine on
the decedents of duplicates.
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