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Would You Eat Cloned Food?

January 15, 2008 | By More

Would you eat cloned food? The federal government’s main food regulator is expected any day to make a final ruling that clones in the food chain pose no dangers. Cloned animals — pigs, dairy cows and the like — promise to make food production more cost-efficient and could yield better cuts of meat.

In 2006 the FDA found that “meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.” On Friday, the European Food Safety Commission released its initial report on the issue and came to a similar conclusion as the FDA. A difference in food safety between conventionally bred animals and cloned animals and their progeny “is very unlikely,” the commission said.

But, For all the science saying cloned animals are safe, reams of market research, including by big food companies, warns of consumer apprehension. Cloning is not a well understood process, and the very word conjures nefarious notions of humans defying nature. “The problem is, very few people know much of what this is all about,” said William Hallman, a psychologist and director of Rutgers University’s Food Policy Institute. The International Food Information Council found last year that “favorable” impressions of animal cloning had risen to a bit over 20 percent, compared with 10 percent three years earlier.

Meanwhile, “unfavorable” impressions had fallen to about 50 percent from over 60 percent in 2004. But the gap between favorable and unfavorable is still high, and other research has shown significant adverse opinion to cloned animals.

A study done in 2006 by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ biotechnology initiative found that animal cloning causes “great discomfort among American consumers.” Of those polled, 64 percent said they were “uncomfortable” with animal cloning, a response that paralleled the group’s 2005 survey.

This has cause many major food produces to decide against using cloned animals in their foods. So what do you think ? Would you be an early adopter?

[Sources: Bio.Org, Chicago Tribune, FDA, Washington Post]

Category: Food

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