Saturday, December 30, 2006

Food from Cloned Animals Safe To Eat

Milk and meat from some cloned animals are safe to eat, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday in a draft ruling that brings the controversial technology closer to American grocery carts.

If given final approval, the ruling would allow for the sale of food made from cloned cattle, pigs and goats, but not sheep, in the United States for the first time.

The agency said it would be unlikely to recommend special labels for food made from clones, which are genetic twins of donor animals, but would not decide on the labeling issue until it collects comments from the public over the next 90 days.

"No unique risks for human food consumption were identified in cattle, swine or goat clones," it said.

The FDA did not have enough evidence to give the same assurance on sheep clones, but it did vouch for food made from clones' offspring, which many believe would account for most of the clone-related food making its way onto dinner tables.

Making clones of animals works by taking cells from an adult and fusing them with other cells before implanting them in a surrogate mother. A relatively small amount of cloned livestock now exists in the United States.

The FDA stressed it will maintain its current moratorium on the food until a final ruling is issued.

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