FDA to clear cloned livestock for consumers (Reuters):
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is expected to declare as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring is safe to eat, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The FDA had previously asked producers of cloned livestock not to sell food products from such animals pending its ruling on their safety, the Journal said on its Web site.
The decision would come after more than six years of wrestling with the question and would be a milestone for a small cadre of biotech companies that want to make a business out of producing cloned farm animals.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)
I first brought this issue to your attention in October 2003 with Cloned food. Coming to a store near you?. I raised a number of questions which I thought needed answers (below). To the best of my knowledge, these issues have not been resolved.
- Why do they have so many defects and anomalies (serious, deadly ones)?
- Why are they born old and die young?
- Why does cloning just "fail to take" so frequently?
- What are the effects of consuming cloned products?
- If in addition to being cloned, there are genetic modifications, what are the long term health effects of those?
- What happens if a disease sweeps through that "strain"? And related,
- What happens to those who have regularly consumed that genetically modified cloned strain?
By October of 2003, the FDA had decided that cloned meat and products are safe.
In December of 2006 the FDA opened a consumer comment period regarding cloned meat and related products. I urged folks to write to the FDA (and I'm sure many of you did), and wrote an argument against cloned livestock entering the food supply - Cloned Meat Supposedly Safe. I raised a number of issues from safety, to health, to control of the food supply being concentrated in corporate hands.
In another article in May 2007, I wrote about The Consequences of a Globalized, Industrialized Food Supply. In that article I discussed the implications and impacts of globalization, and corporate control of food and food safety. We saw these concerns play out significantly over the last several years from the "StarLink" corn debacle, to toxic food imports, to various e-coli outbreaks. Cloning certainly magnifies these issues.
At the end of the day, special interests are carrying the day. Only a handful of corporations - biotech and bioag, and corporate controlled agriculture will benefit from this. Studies have clearly shown that the public (and not just the U.S. public) do not want cloned and genetically engineered food. The FDA response (which clear serves corporate rather than public interests) says "don't tell them." They have repeatedly ruled that genetically engineered and cloned products are the same a "natural" products and therefore require no labeling. The only interests this serves are corporate profits. Labeling would let the consumer decide, and they would likely decide to pass over GE and cloned products. That would hurt the "bottom line." However, isn't that what capitalism is supposedly about? That producers compete in a market and the consumer decides who wins or loses? Knowing this, the pressure has been on to not label such products.
However, cloning is exceptionally expensive. The promised "tracking" that corporations say they will employ, is expensive. Why would you want to do this? Why would you press for years to allow cloned products into the food supply? Why would folks invest millions, if not billions, of dollars into this pointless adventure? I can think of only two reasons, and neither of those are to improve food supply or food safety.
The first reason is to get a strangle hold on the food supply. They clearly want the global food supply totally in their hands (and pockets). The second reason is to have a way of profiting from cloning done for medical purposes. The first thing that comes to mind is transgenics for the production of transplant organs. This involves the introduction of human DNA into animals (pigs and apes have been most common) in order to produce organs for transplant which are less likely to be rejected. The organ market is a huge potential profit environment. However, what do you do with all of those tens of thousands (or millions) of animals so engineered and cloned? Well, turn them into hotdogs I guess.
A related medical venture is the production of vaccines and medicines. Once again, those creatures which pass their usefulness (milk production for example), have no place to go. So off to the market - apparently.
Like the FCC and its decision to expand media ownership rules, or the EPA and their lack of control of polluters, the FDA is siding with corporate interests over public good.
Business ... as usual.