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http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN0231832820080902

By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Food and milk from the offspring of cloned animals may have entered the U.S. food supply, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, but it would be impossible to know because there is no difference between cloned and conventional products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in January meat and milk from cloned cattle, swine and goats and their offspring were as safe as products from traditional animals. Before then, farmers and ranchers had followed a voluntary moratorium on the sale of clones and their offspring.

While the FDA evaluated the safety of food from clones and their offspring, the U.S. Agriculture Department was in charge of managing the transition of these animals into the food supply.

"It is theoretically possible" offspring from clones are in the food supply, said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman.

Cloning animals involves taking the nuclei of cells from adults and fusing them into egg cells that are implanted into a surrogate mother. There are an estimated 600 cloned animals in the United States.

Proponents, including the Biotechnology Industry Organization, say cloning is a way to create more disease-resistant animals that produce more milk and better meat. The cloning industry and the FDA say cloned animals and their offspring are as safe as their traditional counterparts.

Critics contend not enough is known about the technology to ensure it is safe, and they also say the FDA needs to address concerns over animal cruelty and ethical issues.

"It worries me that this technology is out of control in so many ways," said Charles Margulis, a spokesman with the Center for Environmental Health. The possibility of offspring being in the food supply "is just another element of that," he said.

FDA and USDA have said it is impossible to differentiate between cloned animals, their offspring and conventionally bred animals, making it difficult to know if offspring are in the food supply.

"But they would be a very limited number because of the very few number of clones that are out there and relatively few of those clones are at an age where they would be parenting," said Bruce Knight, USDA's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

As the FDA unveiled its final rule, USDA in January asked producers to prolong the ban on selling products from cloned animals. That ban did not extend to meat and milk from the clone's offspring.

Major food companies including Tyson Foods Inc, the largest U.S. meat company, and Smithfield Foods Inc have said they would avoid using cloned animals because of safety concerns.

The list grew on Tuesday after the Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth said 20 food producers and retailers vowed not to use ingredients from cloned animals.

The list, provided by the two groups, included Kraft Foods Inc, General Mills Inc, Campbell Soup Co, Nestle SA, California Pizza Kitchen Inc and Supervalu Inc.

In a letter to the Center for Food Safety, Susan Davison, director of corporate affairs with Kraft, said product safety was "not the only factor" the company considers.

"We must also carefully consider additional factors such as consumer benefits and acceptance ... and research in the U.S. indicates that consumers are currently not receptive to ingredients from cloned animals," she said.

(Editing by Christian Wiessner and David Gregorio)
 

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People seem to be scared of things that are genetically modified. The only problem with clones (at least when cloning first began) is that they seem to age faster and are prone to ailments that usually occur in older animals because they are using older, and hence more mutated genes that have not been paired with another set to reduce these risks. There would likely be a higher chance of cancer in these animals, but overall they are safe.

The only thing that would concern me about genetically modfied food (animal and plant products) would be that they spliced a gene that causes the organism to make higher concentrations, or different hormones/toxins/pesticides that could potentialy harm us and would be difficult to remove from product.

Question: Have you ever seen one of the animals that have had GFP (green flourescent protein) spliced into their DNA? If so, wouldn't it be kinda cool to eat a steak that was glowing? (athough proteins typically dissociate above 105-110 degree's fahrenheit, it would probably only glow raw, but it would still be cool in my opinion)
 

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The FDA has no idea of the effects caused by cloned food products. I think it is foolish that they don't mandate the food produced by cloning is labeled as such. They have a responsibility to require that food has a listing of the Ingredience, why not the source (to include country of origin)? Informed concent is the bedrock of public safety.
 
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