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CSPI on the FDA’s Safety Assessment of Food from Cloned Animals

Statement of CSPI Biotechnology Director Gregory Jaffe

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There are still unanswered questions about the use of cloned animals in the food supply, but the Food and Drug Administration has satisfactorily answered the safety question. While the safety of any food cannot be proven with absolute certainty, consumers should have confidence that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring will be safe.

While the FDA is charged with assessing the safety issues surrounding animal cloning, it’s not the agency’s job to address other objections that make cloned animals controversial. Congress should hold hearings on the animal-welfare, ethical, and environmental implications of cloning.

If companies begin using clones to breed food animals, they need to explain why. Will it make any food product better, safer, cheaper or more sustainable? Clear evidence of benefits must be generated if consumers are going to accept cloned animals and their products.

Most consumers will never eat a cloned animal. Those animals, which are very expensive to produce, primarily will be used as breeding stock and will end up as a minuscule portion of our food supply only at the end of their useful lives. Consumers may eventually eat or drink food that comes from the progeny of cloned animals. Those offspring at least do not encounter the same health problems as the clones themselves. 

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).