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Calls for a Moratorium on Food from Cloned Animals

Genetic Crossroads
October 20th, 2006

A coalition of health, environmental, animal safety, consumer and religious groups has filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration aimed at the agency's pending decision on allowing meat and milk from cloned animals into the U.S. food supply. The Center for Food Safety and seven other groups are calling for a moratorium on foods produced from cloned livestock, and for pre-market food safety and environmental reviews of them.

The petition challenges the adequacy of studies that claim that there are no health risks of food from cloned animals, and raises environmental and animal welfare concerns about cloning. A 2004 report by the National Academies of Sciences said that the safety of cloned food could not be asserted because "the paucity of evidence in the literature on this topic makes it impossible to provide scientific evidence to support this position."

Companies that produce cloned livestock see it as a lucrative market. One company is reported to have cloned pigs and beef cattle ready for commercialization, and cloned dairy cows have been producing milk on farms in the U.S. for at least five years. The Washington Postsuggests that some of these companies may have already released cloned milk and meat into the commercial market.

But the food industry is divided on foo6d from cloned animals. Leading the industry opposition is the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents companies with publicly recognizable brands that are sensitive to public acceptance.

Recent polls show that many Americans would refuse to buy food from cloned animals, and have serious concerns about the ethics of animal cloning. An independent poll last year found that 77% of Americans were unsure about the safety of cloned food, including 43% who stated that cloned food would be unsafe. An industry-sponsored poll last year similarly found that 63% of Americans would not buy cloned food, even if FDA deemed the products safe.

The FDA petition was signed by Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, American Anti-Vivisection Society, Humane Society of the United States, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Center for Environmental Health. The groups want the FDA to regulate cloned animals as "new animal drugs" under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, and call for the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a federal review committee to advise the FDA on the ethical issues raised by animal cloning.

Read the full FDA petition.

Read the Executive Summary of the petition.

Read the Center for Food Safety's statement.


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