Genetically Modified Fries With Your Cloned Burger

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In 2007, the FDA ruled that meat from cloned cows was safe to eat. Even though this ruling cleared the way for cloned beef, goats, pigs and sheep to be used for food, I don’t any of this meat has yet come to market. Whether you agree or disagree with the eventual introduction of cloned meat into our food supply, there is one part of the ruling that I hope an uproar is created over, the labeling.

No Labels Are Required

The FDA ruled that because their “risk assessment” showed no danger to human health, meat producers will be free to market their products without any distinguishing labels. I have written many times about my belief that labeling of food and health and beauty products need better, much more complete labeling. The FDA, with their varied and repeated rulings that labels in general are not needed, seems to disagree with me. I think they are following the letter of the law, but not using common sense. I also believe they are not doing what the majority of taxpayers would like them to with labeling requirements.

Labels Are Not Only To Warn Of Danger

Labels on products serve several purposes beyond the FDA’s belief that they are to warn us of danger. Perhaps the most important function of a labeling on food is to provide information upon which the consumer can make purchasing decisions. This is the crux of food producer’s fear. These companies understand perfectly that a label on a package of meat saying, “cloned”, irradiated” or treated with CO2, will cause some consumers to make a different choice. This has nothing to do with whether these products are safe to eat. In fact, some cases, like irradiation, a logical argument can be made that the meat may actually be safer than untreated meat.

So Why Not Label Cloned Meat?

Simply because labeling it as such would make it very difficult to sell to us “uneducated” and “fearful” consumers. We would choose not to buy cloned steaks, but would do so for reasons the FDA and the meat producers must feel are invalid. The fact is that many would choose not to buy cloned meat and for what reasons and whether the reluctance is backed up by studies and science is not important. Consumers have the right to know what they are buying and to decide for themselves and their families if they want to buy it.

Consumers Want Better Labeling

I know I do. I strongly believe that government should require that all products we eat, or put on our bodies, carry labels listing ingredients. Any new or controversial processing methods also need to be put on labels. The geographic origin of food also needs to be disclosed. We need to be able to make our own decisions about what we eat. Without complete labeling, we can’t easily do that.

What Do You Think?

Please take the simple poll at the bottom of this post. Then leave your opinions, and reasoning in a comment. This topic really does not seem to create much interest on line or with the general populace. Why do you think that is? Is it not as important an issue as I think it is? Or are people just too distracted by more pressing things in their lives to be concerned?

Let’s Publicize This

If you have a website of your own and feels as I do, you could write your own post on this or just write a short note to your readers asking them to come to this post and answer the poll and leave a comment. Maybe we can get some Digg and Stumble Upon readers to do more than a quick scan and move on. If I get enough poll answers and comments to feel the opinion is substantial, and my view seems to be supported by the majority, I will summarize it all and write to Congress and the FDA asking for better labeling.

Today’s Poll

Regardless of whether you would buy it, should cloned meat be clearly labeled?

View Results

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Will Sig
1 Melanie

I agree with you on this! I’m not against cloned beef from the information I have on the issue, but I think we have the right to know.
I wish I could write as eloquently as you. I would post this one on my own blogs!

Melanies last blog post..Strikes in France

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2 JD

I think it should be labeled, but I also think feedlot beef, dairy beef, and pastured beef should also be labeled. When it comes with the stuff you stick in your mouth there is no such thing as too much information.

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3 Jennifer Robin

Dugg it. I’m with JD on the labeling and information. I’m sick and tired of the FDA making blanket decisions that affect my family’s health and well being. If I’m going to make a decision to eat something that’s potentially bad for me, it should be my choice, not theirs.

Jennifer Robins last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Wild Blackberry Blossoms

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4 Cheap Digital SLRs

Personally, I think that the FDA is right about people panicking for no reason about genetically modified food. Farmers have been practicing genetic engineering for ages by means of breeding. Genetic engineering is simple a way to speed up the process. Today’s domesticated animals do not resemble their wild counterparts from many millennia ago, so they’re aren’t any more “natural” than genetically engineered animals. Just my two cents.

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5 Nigel

I have a few things to say about cloning, but I must first respond to Mr. “Cheap Digital SLRs”. It is an informal fallacy to state that because animals are not like they were thousands of years ago, genetic engineering is okay. Genetic engineering is in no way like conventional breeding. Genes are taken from organisms (usually bacteria and viruses) that are in completely different kingdoms. There is no way that one could create a pig with a nose that glows through natural breeding, nor could one produce corn that produces a contraceptive. Furthermore, this post is not about genetically engineered food… SPAM!

Anyhow, with respect to cloned animals, there is very solid evidence that cloned meat bi-products are already in the food supply. Just as with test animals for xenotransplantation and genetic engineering, biproducts from pigs and cows cloned merely for testing are used in feed, and sometimes even in human food such as lard (mmm, cloned oreos).

When it comes right down to it, we know that the FDA and CFIA are not out to protect us, they are out to support industry. They make it very clear they do not stand behind the regulatory decisions they make, they merely state that they are “not aware of any evidence of harm” from a given application of agricultural biotechnology. I don’t even think this is a question of labeling, I think it is a question of using a precautionary principle to ensure the health and fertility of our generation.

Nigels last blog post..Genetically engineering mosquitoes to combat malaria…

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6 Will

Great comment Nigel, thanks! Sometimes I think I am too easy on giving the benefit of the doubt. Nice to have someone say it like it is!

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7 Nigel

Oh, and here is an older post about cloning farm animals: http://www.undoge.org/?p=3

Nigels last blog post..Genetically engineering mosquitoes to combat malaria…

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8 chaosgone

Cloned meat sounds gross to me. If they are going to sell it, they better label it.

chaosgones last blog post..Halloween in July

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9 Diana

I am using my hard earned money to pay for my food and I have a right to know. I am against cloneing meat it’s horrible. If they are going to do it I definetly want it labeled.

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10 Matty

Not only should the labels be thorough, clear and visible, there should also be strictly agreed upon standards with the vernacular used, so as to avoid that horrible leap from awareness into marketing lingo. As in, when “organic” begins to stand for so little, and really just becomes another buzz word.

Mattys last blog post..What Are Goji Berries?

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