FDA says cloned meat safe

A US Food and Drug Administration report finds that meat and milk from cloned animals is, for the most part, safe to eat, the Washington Post reported.

The newspaper said it had obtained a copy of a long-awaited, 968-page "final risk assessment," from the agency ahead of release.

It said FDA experts measured vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12 as well as niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, fatty acids, cholesterol, fat, protein, amino acids and lactose in meat and milk from 600 cloned animals, including cattle and pigs.

The agency also found no health effects in animals fed meat and milk from cloned animals for more than three months.

Cloned food safe to eat
"Food from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as that from their more conventionally-bred counterparts," the newspaper quotes the report as saying.

Recently, the European Food Safety Authority also approved the safety of meat and milk from cloned animals. FDA officials have said the report would likely be released shortly.

The newspaper said the report concluded there was not enough information to rule on the safety of food from cloned sheep. It also said that food from newborn cloned cattle, which often are abnormal, "may pose some very limited human food consumption risk."

"Moral, religious and ethical concerns have been raised," the newspaper quotes the FDA as saying in a commentary. But the agency decided to go with science alone.

Some opposition to finding
Several companies and academic laboratories have cloned farm animals and few experts predict herds of cloned animals will be providing commercial meat and milk - mostly because the process is so expensive.

Instead, the goal is to clone prize animals and then breed them conventionally to create herds.

The newspaper quoted Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Centre for Food Safety, an advocacy group that petitioned FDA to restrict the sale of food from clones, as saying his group was considering legal action.

"One of the amazing things about this is that at a time when we have a readily acknowledged crisis in our food safety system, the FDA is spending its resources and energy and political capital on releasing a safety assessment for something that no one but a handful of companies wants," Mendelson told the newspaper. – (ReutersHealth)

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