Opinions Mixed on Clone Announcement

FDA's conclusion that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe draws praise and criticism.

Published on: Jan 16, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration's release of their final report on the safety of products from cloned animals on Tuesday, as expected, came to the conclusion that meat and milk from cloned cattle, pigs and goats and their offspring was as safe as those from conventionally bred animals. USDA agreed with FDA's assessment and is working with them to achieve a smooth transition for these products; however there were varying views on the issue.

The American Farm Bureau Federation came out in support of the announcement, saying the technology will be mainly used for breeding purposes and very little food from cloned animals will make it to the marketplace.

"Cloning technology will give farmers and ranchers an additional production option," says AFBF President Bob Stallman. "It has gone through the appropriate regulatory review process and has been found to be safe; therefore, farmers should have the option of using it. The technology will improve breeding stock and, eventually, the quality, safety and healthfulness of our food. Animal cloning offers great benefits for consumers and farmers."

On the opposite side of the issue was the National Farmers Union, which says the economic implications of cloned products being introduced into the marketplace could be devastating to family farms and consumers.

"In the face of ever-increasing food safety concerns, it is troubling to see the FDA approval of products from cloned animals to be sold to the public, when questions surrounding the health risks, legal implications and ethical concerns remain unanswered," says NFU President Tom Buis. "Furthermore, there is no data to suggest any consumer demand for such products."

USDA plans to work with FDA to study domestic and international agricultural trade implications of commercialization meat and milk from animal clones.