WASHINGTON, DC - "The Food and Drug Administration's decision to allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals leaves consumers at risk and releases another questionable technology into the food supply.
"The agency announced today that it has finalized its risk assessment on eating meat and milk from cloned animals, the final step before a voluntary moratorium on selling these products is lifted. FDA's draft risk assessment relied on only a handful of studies conducted by the cloning industry and included little long-term evidence. Even the agency's own science board released a report last month stating that FDA has a 'lack of expertise in risk/benefit assessment.'
"While more complete research is needed on this technology, there is still an underlying objection from consumers based on ethical and animal welfare concerns. More than 150,000 people submitted comments to FDA earlier this year opposing animal food cloning. But despite widespread public disapproval, FDA is not planning to require labeling of products from cloned animals, keeping already wary consumers in the dark.
"In addition to disregarding public concerns, FDA is also blatantly disregarding directions from Congress. Just last month, the Senate passed the farm bill and the entire Congress passed the omnibus appropriations bill. Both included provisions urging FDA to do more studies on cloning before final approval is given. But rather than listening to Congress and acting in the public interest, the federal agency is caving into industry pressure.
"The recent announcement by the cloning industry about a voluntary registry of cloned food animals does nothing to address the very real safety questions and ethical concerns that remain about this technology. Rather than weak proposals about how to track this latest controversial food technology, we need an honest assessment of whether it should be used at all. Until this happens, cloned animals or their offspring should not be allowed to enter the food supply."
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer rights organization that challenges the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources. www.foodandwaterwatch.org