The Food and Drug Administration released its final Risk Assessment on food from cloned animals in January 2008, concluding that meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.
Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed with FDA's final assessment, the department encouraged technology providers to maintain the voluntary moratorium on sending milk and meat from animal clones into the food supply during an unspecified transition period. USDA plans to work with interested industry stakeholders to "ensure a smooth and seamless transition into the marketplace for these products."
IDFA agrees with USDA's decision to continue the moratorium on milk from cloned animals while the department and other government agencies review the implications that the approval of this niche technology would have on trade and public health. Numerous surveys reveal that consumers are not comfortable with the idea of buying milk from cloned cows, and more time is needed for the public to gain a better understanding of the new technology.
U.S. dairy exports have grown significantly during the past few years, reducing the cost of government support programs. However, milk and food from cloned animals have not been approved for consumption in most countries that are importing our products. Therefore, it would be prudent to wait until all major foreign trading partners have reviewed and approved the same cloning technology in their respective countries.
IDFA is reassured that FDA has confirmed that there are no health or safety issues with food from cloned animals. But moving too fast on this technology without a thorough and deliberative dialogue at all levels could also unintentionally lead to reduced domestic consumption of milk, which is an excellent source of essential nutrients for people of all ages.
During the moratorium, IDFA encourages the biotechnology industry to work with consumers to help them gain a full understanding of the technology.