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Biotech companies welcome U.S. government approval, but cloned food still years from store shelves.

by 5m Editor
2 January 2007, at 11:34am

US - Despite a government endorsement, food from cloned animals could take years to reach U.S. supermarket shelves.

But the backing does give hope to several struggling businesses that clone cows and pigs. The biotechnology companies believe ranchers, dairy producers and others now will be more willing to pay upward of $16,000 (€12,148) per clone following last week's tentative approval by the Food and Drug Administration to use the technology to produce food.

Although no law bars cloned food, the companies and their customers have for the past three years voluntarily withheld sales of cloned-derived food pending the FDA review.

An 800-page FDA report concluded Thursday there is no difference between cloned and conventionally produced food. The FDA will not formally adopt its findings until early 2007, keeping the voluntary ban in place.

The initial milk, beef and pork products on the market likely will not come directly from cloned animals because of the technology's cost. Instead, ranchers are expected to pay to produce a "rock star" breeder that would produce valuable offspring for years to come.

Source: International Herald Tribunes

5m Editor