Skip to comments.How Would You Like Your Beef? 100% Natural, Cloned, Transgenic or Uncloned?
Posted on 10/29/2003 5:30:36 AM PST by First_Salute
Lets turn the clock back to 1996, when the religious, ethical, and scientific debate on cloning began as the world was introduced to Dolly, the first cloned animal. And although the idea of cloning for some is disturbing in regard to the balance of nature, the most important (at least in OUR opinion) issue at hand is whether or not food from cloned animals should be sold. That's right, THE ISSUE IS WHETHER CLONED MEAT IS SAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. Can you just imagine going into a supermarket or fast foodery near you and being asked to choose between a burger that is "natural, cloned or transgenic"?
It's about business and profits, as some farmers and some research studies, are pushing to embrace this technology and are doing all they can to say that the products made from cloned animals are safe for human consumption. The current position of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is that they have requested that companies refrain from selling cloned food products.
Companies such as Cyagra, a Worcester biotechnology company that says it has cloned more than 100 cattle for farmers and ranchers now anxiously await an important announcement due any day from the FDA stating their position on the sale of food products coming from cloned livestock.
OK, OK, before we all decide to go our to the nearest Blockbuster and rent Soylent Green in order to get a primer on the subject (just joking!), we must get the answer to the simple question; do we need to clone animals for food?
Some believe the birth of "supercows" could bring such benefits to consumers as less fatty meat and more nutritious milk. But the truth is always in the action and not the hype. Let's not forget that hog farmers did an exceptional job of producing hogs that were less fatty, more nutritious by changing thier feed. As a result their product got a brand new image, and soon became the "other white meat" without any cloning or genetic modification. And, oh yea, sales did go up.
Reports indicate that scientists believe animal clones could be more disease resistant and may yield healthier food. The Pew Institute of Food and Biotechnology, an independent agency that has been helping the FDA review the issue, reports that their findings suggest that cloned animals are no different from their conventionally bred counterparts. Basically, "a copy is just a copy." Past research indicates that genes are altered in the cloning process and that there is a chance that this could result in toxins. But, according to the data that is out there, there are not any strong indications that cloning would have adverse effects on the food.
Last February, the world famous Dolly, was put to sleep by doctors after being diagnosed with progressive lung disease. She was only six years old. Before that, Dolly was diagnosed as having arthritis. It was not clear whether the condition was a result of the cloning process causing premature aging of her cells or if it was just a fluke. Anyone's mouth watering for some succulent "cloned" Frenched Lamb Chops?
It is quite possible that the FDA's decision will begin the introduction of foods made from cloned animals into the supermarket; our concern is that it appears that the decision is being based purely on science. Isn't the bigger issue whether or not we shoppers will want to buy and consume cloned foods, no matter how strong the "evidence and science" is that they are safe? And haven't we heard all too often about science being safe, to discover just how questionable that the data at the time was, a few years later?
I guess the good news is (if any) that the FDA's report will only address animals that are "direct" copies of their parents, or clones, which will be reviewed by a scientific advisory committee on November 4. The committee will consider a risk assessment on cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer of animals that addresses both food and animal safety. The meeting is open to the public, and we intend to be there!
Transgenic animals, animals that have been altered genetically to improve quality, will be discussed at a later date. FDA is smart enough to seperate the issues; presumably with the hope that with the fear of consumers eating transgenic meat, that cloned meat is a shoe-in. Damn, sort of reminds me of all that fun in Jurrasic Park.
What do you think? Would you eat "cloned" beef? CLICK HERE to take our Quick Poll on Cloned and Transgenic Meats and let the Food World and the FDA know what is on your mind!
Heaven forbid that a scientic question (food safety) should actually be decided "based purely on science".
"Isn't the bigger issue whether or not we shoppers will want to buy and consume cloned foods, no matter how strong the "evidence and science" is that they are safe?"
Actually, NO. The issue is the scientific determination that food products are safe, not whether some propaganda-minded Luddite wants to use emotionalistic propaganda to prevent the sale of same.