The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that research has shown that products from cattle, swine and goat clones as well as the offspring of all clones are as safe as conventionally raised animals. Insufficient data kept the agency from making that determination for clones of sheep.
FDA has released of documents outlining the regulatory approach the agency is taking in regards to animal cloning. Rough drafts of a risk assessment, a risk management plan and industry guidelines were released in December 2006 and have been updated with new scientific information that reinforces the conclusions of the drafts. The European Union reached the same conclusion as FDA in a report they released last week.
Bruce Knight, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory programs says USDA agrees with FDA's final evaluation that there is no risk from meat or milk and other products from clones or offspring.
"Cloning is another breeding tool," Knight says. "Just like artificial insemination or embryo transfer. There are only about 650 clones in the U.S. and they will be used primarily for breeding purposes."
According to Knight, USDA, in conjunction with FDA, will study the economic implications on trade that meat and milk from cloned animals will have. The voluntary moratorium that producers agreed to in 2001 will continue as stakeholder meetings are held to talk about concerns and what steps are needed to move forward in a smooth, orderly transition.
"It's really about market and consumer acceptance," Knight says. "With the announcement by FDA, the issue of food safety has been addressed."