“Yuck factor” causes many to oppose cloning of animals for food

The backlash against the US Food and Drug Administration’s possible endorsement of food from cloned animals continued as legislation was drafted to require labeling of all such food products. Meanwhile food companies issued statements opposing cloned foods and a leading ice cream company organized a protest march in Washington, DC. Even a biotechnology industry trade journal spoke out against cloning animals.

In February, Maryland Senator Barbara A. Mikulski introduced the Cloned Food Labeling Act. The legislation will require the FDA and the Department of Agriculture to mandate that all food that comes from cloned animals be labeled as such. The label will read: *THIS PRODUCT IS FROM A CLONED ANIMAL OR ITS PROGENY*.

“The public deserves to know if their food comes from a cloned animal. My legislation will help the American public make an informed decision,” said Senator Mikulski. “I am strongly opposed to the FDA approving meat and milk products from cloned animals for human consumption. If cloned food is safe, let it onto the market, but give consumers the information they need to avoid these products if they choose to. We need to let Americans – many of whom find this repugnant – speak with their dollars and choose the food that they feel confident is safe.”

In California, State Senator Carol Migden also introduced legislation calling for labeling of meat and dairy products from cloned animals. Straus Family Creamery, a California organic dairy, supports Migden’s legislation. “We believe that consumers have the right to make informed choices when buying food. We think it’s wrong that the FDA is allowing cloned meat and milk products onto grocery store shelves without being labeled,” the company said in a statement.

California’s largest dairy processor, California Dairies, Inc. recently stated that it “will not accept milk from cloned cows…effective immediately.”

A recent poll by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology found that a majority of Americans opposed animal cloning. Pew representative Kara Flynn cited the “yuck factor” as the main reason for consumer opposition.“Religious and ethical concerns are a big factor ... as if we’re playing God,” she said.

Protest march
In February, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s organized a protest march through the streets of Washington, DC, with more than 100 cow-costumed marchers rallying on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of issues related to cloning.

“We are calling for the FDA to expand its review of cloning and urge all Americans to learn more about the issues and share their concerns with the FDA and their Congress members,” said Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield.

(Source: The Kansas City Star)

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