Senators Send Letter to HHS Expressing Concern over Cloning Review
With the expected imminent release of a Risk Assessment/Risk Management document by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on milk and meat from cloned cows, a bipartisan group of several key senators wrote last week to the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees FDA, asking for additional steps in the review process in order to boost consumer confidence.
"We applaud and support this action by the senators," noted IDFA Senior Vice President Chip Kunde. "This is a new technology that consumers are not comfortable with, so it is important that the science is presented in a thorough manner with room for comment, discussion and follow-up."
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), call on HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt for "stringent" peer review of the science, including reconvening FDA's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee to review the Risk Assessment; waiting to publish the Risk Management until after finalizing the Risk Assessment (instead of releasing them together as planned); communicating all draft and final decisions through the Federal Register (rather than on FDA's website as planned); and using the advisory committee and inter-agency review process to invite maximum public and stakeholder input. To read the letter, click here.
As reported earlier this month in News Update, IDFA had heard FDA would post the Risk Assessment document within the next few weeks. Once the Risk Assessment is released, a comment period of at least 60 days will follow. FDA does not plan to lift the current moratorium on milk from cloned cows entering the marketplace during the comment period, and likely will not lift it while evaluating those comments. IDFA continues to encourage the government to take further steps in evaluating this issue before the moratorium is lifted.
To read IDFA's recent member Hotline on an FDA article that summarizes the Risk Assessment, members can click here.
In addition, IDFA has been working closely with National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management Inc. on resources to use with the media on this issue. If IDFA members hear from the media and would like IDFA's assistance, contact Susan Ruland at email@example.com or Marti Pupillo at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 202-737-4332.
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Posted December 18, 2006