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Article posted Jan 02 2007, 8:25 PM Category: Health Source: Herald Sun Print

'Frankenstein farming' fears


CONSUMER groups have warned of "Frankenstein farming" after US food chiefs declared meat and milk from cloned animals safe to eat.

The US Food and Drug Administration concluded cloned animals were no different from conventional livestock and food from them will not need to be labelled as such.

But the UK Food Commission, Britain's independent food watchdog, condemned the proposal as "a giant step in the wrong direction".

If the FDA fully approves cloning, which is still on hold pending public consultation, US farmers will be able to export produce from these animals without any labelling.

The proposals have horrified animal welfare and consumer groups.

A report by FDA scientists Larisa Rudenko and John C. Matheson concludes that cloned animals are "virtually indistinguishable" from conventional livestock and therefore no labelling is required.

In time, fast-growing, super-size animals could be made capable of delivering big profits for farmers.

Consumer groups say not enough is known about the effects of eating cloned animals because the technology to produce them has been available only for a few years.

They also point out many people might have an ethical objection and will want labelling to ensure they are allowed to make an informed choice about what they buy and eat.

Carol Tucker Foreman, of the Consumer Federation of America, said the FDA was ignoring research showing cloning results in more animal deaths and deformities than other reproductive technologies.

A UK Food Commission spokesman said: "I think consumers would be rightly wary and suspicious. We don't know if there would be any health risk, but many people would feel it is somehow wrong. It is a giant step in the wrong direction."





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