Animal cloning and food safety (source: FDA)

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Animal cloning and food safety (source: FDA)

After years of detailed study and analysis, the Food and Drug Administration has concluded that meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine (pigs), and goats, and the offspring of clones from any species traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals. This conclusion stems from an extensive study of animal cloning and related food safety, culminating in the release of three FDA documents in January 2008: a risk assessment, a risk management plan, and guidance for industry.

Researchers have been cloning livestock species since 1996, starting with the famous sheep named Dolly. When it became apparent in 2001 that cloning could become a commercial venture to help improve the quality of herds, FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) asked livestock producers to voluntarily keep food from clones and their offspring out of the food chain until CVM could further evaluate the issue.

FDA Studies Cloning

For more than five years, CVM scientists studied hundreds of published reports and other detailed information on clones of livestock animals to evaluate the safety of food from these animals. The resulting report, called a risk assessment, presents FDA's conclusions that

cloning poses no unique risks to animal health, compared to the risks found with other reproduction methods, including natural mating

the composition of food products from cattle, swine, and goat clones, or the offspring of any animal clones, is no different from that of conventionally bred animals

because of the preceding two conclusions, there are no additional risks to people eating food from cattle, swine, and goat clones or the offspring of any animal clones