Agency rules that ‘subtle hazards’ cannot be found
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The U.S. government ruled Tuesday that food from cloned animals and their offspring is as safe as other food, opening the door to bringing meat and milk from clone offspring into the food supply.
“Extensive evaluation of the available data has not identified any subtle hazards that might indicate food consumption risks in healthy clones of cattle, swine or goats,” the Food and Drug Administration said in a final risk assessment that confirmed preliminary findings from 2006.
The FDA, after reviewing more than 700 studies, said it did not have enough facts to make an assertion about cloned sheep.
The ruling was the latest twist after years of debate over the reproductive technology, which advocates say will provide consumers with top-quality food by replicating prized animals that can breed highly productive offspring.
The cloning industry, made up so far of only a handful of firms, expects that it will be the offspring of cloned animals, not the costly clones themselves, that would provide meat or milk to U.S. consumers.
There are currently about 570 cloned animals in the United States, but the livestock industry has so far followed a voluntary ban on marketing food from cloned animals.
It could take four or five years before consumers are able to buy clone-derived food on a wide scale.