Send in the Clones

J0178988J0178988_1 Today the Washington Post reports that the FDA is set to approve food and milk that comes from cloned animals.  Is it possible then, that we may hear an abundance of deja vu related remarks around mealtime in the coming years? 

Hey, didn’t I eat this steak yesterday?

The move is prompted by a series of studies that demonstrate that indicate that there is no harm in eating meat that is produced from a cloned animal or drinking its milk.  There are a number of studies and the effort has been going on for a number of years and the FDA bases its decisions in data.

Still, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding this move.  For farmers, apparently the cloning of animals can allow them to reproduce quality consistently.  For some consumers, this is just not appetizing and there ethical questions are raised as well.  Groups such as the Consumer Federation of America oppose the effort. 

As a consumer, I have to say the idea doesn’t appeal to me.  A future that markets Steak from Clone Number 1 and Steak from Clone Number 2 means that the variety goes out of my culinary experience.  I will always know exactly what I’m getting.  Some my find that appealing, I find it boring. 

But there is an answer, I think, to the debate.  Allow the cloned animals, but label them as such.  See how the market responds.  The European markets reacted quite negatively to the idea of genetically modified foods.  See if consumers warm up to the idea of eating the same steak, only a generation apart.  If they do, fine.  If they don’t, then the idea simply doesn’t fly.  But the purpose of a food label is to let us consumers know what we are buying and make choices.  It is the food producers who then have to respond to those choices. 

I say, send in the clones.  Let the market decide. 

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One Response to Send in the Clones

  1. Rob Kloppenburg says:

    The real threat from cloned cattle is not so much safety related to consumption but rather the depletion of the genetic pool. By having entire herds of cattle living in close proximity and with the identical genetic make-up, the nation’s food supply will become very vulnerable to cattle pandemics. The most likely source would be a virus or new bacteria, however CJD has already demonstrated how novel infectious agents can wreak havoc on the food supply – and the economy.
    The problem is that if a few varieties of cattle prove to be highly marketable, the economic pressure will be to breed only these types of cattle. So, even as the economics force less genetic diversity, the genetics of the situation could lead to an economic disaster.
    As the French would have it “Vive la difference”!!!