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Clearly Labeled Clones

by 5m Editor
19 April 2007, at 12:07pm

SACRAMENTO — Steaks, pork chops, milk and other products from cloned livestock would have to be clearly labeled on grocers' shelves under a bill pending in the California Legislature.

California state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, calls for legislation that would require that milk and meat products from cloned animals intended for human consumption be clearly labeled.

If passed, the requirement could be more stringent than federal rules. The Food and Drug Administration is poised to give final approval to meat and milk from cloned animals without any special labeling, though a bill introduced in Congress would require it.

State Sen. Carole Migden said consumers deserve to know what they're buying and to be able to decide if they want to eat food from cloned animals. That is especially true because the long-term consequences of eating artificially produced animals cannot yet be studied, she said.

"Wouldn't you like to know if you're drinking milk from a cloned cow, or feeding your children pork chops from a somatic cell nuclear transfer event?" Migden, a Democrat from San Francisco, asked during a news conference last week before the Senate Health Committee voted 6-4 along party lines to support her bill. A similar bill has been introduced in the California Assembly.

Migden was flanked by organic dairy farmers and other supporters wearing cow costumes and carrying placards that read "Not Milk — Cloned food is coming, but you can stop it."

She said the bill isn't designed to undermine the Food and Drug Administration but noted the agency's problems in approving and regulating painkillers.

"They're an overburdened agency and not always 100 percent correct," she said. "They've been duped before on ... Celebrex and Vioxx."

Migden pointed to recent polls she said suggest the FDA's ruling on cloned food could be influential with consumers.

A Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology survey found that 64 percent of respondents were leery of animal cloning. But a University of Maryland poll found that the same percentage said they would buy, or consider buying, such food if the government said it was safe.

Source: SeaCoastOnline

5m Editor