Meat and milk from cloned animals may not appear in supermarkets for years despite being deemed by the government as safe to eat. But don't be surprised if "clone-free" labels appear sooner.The Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group, raised general safety concerns along with stronger observations about the lack of consumer clamor for this technology:
The assessment and the agency's endorsement of cloned food comes despite widespread concern among scientists and food safety advocates over the safety of such products. The move to market cloned milk and meat also flies in the face of dairy and food industry concern and recent consumer opinion polls showing that most Americans do not want these experimental foods.Corn Maven at Ethicurean writes:
When I heard the news last week that the FDA approved the use of cloned animals and their offspring as food for the American populace, I almost puked at the thought.Will Saletan, in a Post column, takes the narrower view that food safety is the only issue on which a sensible person could object to cloning, and he finds the food safety concerns unconvincing. Throwing in some ill-chosen insults to make a partisan hash of the real issues that require contemplation, he writes:
Not as much from the thought of actually eating cloned food, but more so as a guttural reaction to what I feel is happening all too often today regarding our food—and to the beings, non-human and human, who provide it.
The left-wingers want the FDA, Congress and President Bush to keep clones off the market. Their case, laid out in a petition to the FDA, is a mess of anecdotes, obsolete data, speculation and ideology. Like right-wingers in the human cloning debate, they expect the government to honor even their "religious" objections.My objection to last week's federal government decision has less to do with meat safety and more to do with the broader implications of industrial-scale animal cloning. I suspect it shortens the highway to human cloning, which is one of several technologies that I might support only in some future world where humans have collectively matured beyond their current prejudices. In the same vein, I hope my great grandchildren can enjoy the benefits of nuclear energy in a world that has overcome the risk of nuclear violence (see link to news yesterday). For cloning, like wider adoption of nuclear energy, I say: better not this century, and probably not the next.