By Libby Quaid

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans, according to this story, to brief industry groups in advance of an announcement Thursday morning that it has decided that food from cloned animals is safe to eat and does not require special labeling. The FDA indicated it would approve cloned livestock in a scientific journal article published online earlier this month.

Consumer groups say labels are a must, because surveys have shown people to be uncomfortable with the idea of cloned livestock. However, FDA concluded that cloned animals are “virtually indistinguishable” from conventional livestock and that no identification is needed to judge their safety for the food supply.

Barb Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization was cited as saying labels should only be used if the health characteristics of a food are significantly altered by how it is produced, adding, “The bottom line is, we don’t want to misinform consumers with some sort of implied message of difference,” Glenn said. “There is no difference. These foods are as safe as foods from animals that are raised conventionally.”

Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety, was quoted as saying, “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.”

Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America, was cited as saying the FDA is ignoring research that shows cloning results in more deaths and deformed animals than other reproductive technologies.

The consumer federation will ask food companies and supermarkets to refuse to sell food from clones, she said.

Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies

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