Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Moo Moo

How do you feel about cloned beef? What if you were eating it without even knowing it? The FDA is proposing the sale of cloned beef without labeling it.

I have mixed feelings about this. The argument for cloning is that it will make meat more consistent and of equal quality. Supposedly actual clones won't be used, but their offspring will. Cloning is relatively new and I am not so sure it is "perfected" yet. What ever happened to Dolly, the sheep that they cloned? Supposedly they had her euthanized because of a lung disease and crippling arthritis, but arguments are that conditions causing her early demise were a result of cloning. I think they just do not have enough information yet.

Asked whether the FDA is equipped to find out about unexpected problems from cloned food, given that so much of the science is proprietary, and whether FDA is empowered to act on any problems that arise, the agency's new director of veterinary medicine, Bernadette Dunham, said she could and would act quickly.

"We would have them pulled," Dunham said without specifying how the agency would distinguish clone products from others unless some kind of labeling were in place.

"I do believe we'd be able to respond if we saw anything of an adverse nature."

"We would have them pulled"...is that before or after people have already consumed the meat? And yes, how would they know what to pull unless everything was labeled? Otherwise ALL meat would have to be pulled. Imagine the widespread panic.

My other thought is this though, even if they do label for purchase-how does this affect other venues in the food industry? Obviously the other alternative to cloned meat would be to buy organic which is $$$.(Will the gov't try to get their hands into this next) If I choose not to buy cloned beef at the grocery store, what am I eating when I go to a restaurant? Will the menu list "cloned beef burgers or organic beef burgers"? Probably not. Maybe while mainstream sells cloned beef, specialty chains will rise toting "organic meat only". Will there be deception in what is being served?

There are just so many scenarios... Veggieburger anyone?


Jessica said...

Cloned meat doesn't worry me a bit. Maybe it should, but it doesn't.

As I recall, Dolly effectively aged faster than normal. The telomeres at the ends of her chromosomes were shorter than usual, so once they were "used up," her cells deteriorated and she aged. Bad for cloning humans, but just fine if you're planning to clone an animal for slaughter. (Whatever you do, don't quote my bit of pseudoscience in a research paper. :)

On the other had, I think cloned foods certainly ought to be labeled. If we look back a hundred years from now and find that there have been no issues, then we don't need the labels anymore. How hard is that?

Joanne said...

That's my thought-right now they don't know if consuming will have any effect ever. So, isn't it better to label so if there are issues-it can be dealt with? Or by doing this, are they covering their butts because they will be able to say, "Well, there is no definate way to know for sure."