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Biotech Government Politics

Bill Would Require Labels on Cloned Food 251

ComeBack writes "Steaks, pork chops, milk and other products from cloned livestock would have to be clearly labeled on grocers' shelves under a bill pending in the California Legislature. If passed, the requirement could be more stringent than federal rules. The Food and Drug Administration is poised to give final approval to meat and milk from cloned animals without any special labeling, though a bill introduced in Congress would require it."
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Bill Would Require Labels on Cloned Food

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  • Somewhat surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @08:28PM (#18790735) Journal
    Just recently, the FDA has quietly changed the labeling requirements on using irradiation to package food with. Now, It is called pasteurization. Yup, just like Milk's process (which simply flash heats and cools the milk).

    Do not get me wrong. I have no qualm about eating irradiated food. But I do believe that I should get to know what I am eating. As it is, it bother me that the markets are required to show that a fish comes from china (as it should), but a dog food with imported products such as Wheat Glutin can be labeled as made in America/Canada.
  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @08:35PM (#18790817) Homepage
    ...because just about everything in the whole store would have a sticker on it.

    Apples? Cloned. Potatos? Cloned. Bannanas? Cloned.
    Most commercial strawberries are propagated via runners.
    Corn is a freak hybrid. Always has been.

    And yet a bunch of kook Californians are trying to use cloning to stoke fear in consumers.

    Never say the hard left isn't as anti-scientific as the hard right.
  • Re:The Point? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kiaser Wilhelm II ( 902309 ) <> on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @08:44PM (#18790955) Journal
    Thats the rub. Cloning does not result in exact copies. We also do not know what are the possible long-term side effects or risks are.
  • Re:Required? Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by contrapunctus ( 907549 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @08:48PM (#18791019)
    The problem is that usually it's the bull that's cloned because he has fathered goos dairy cows and only for the purpose of breeding.
    So the dairy cow isn't technically cloned.
    Now would the milk be labeled coned?
  • This is laughable (Score:2, Informative)

    by Keith Duhaime ( 139896 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:05PM (#18791225)
    As an agrologist that grew up in the dairy industry, I can tell you right now this is one of the most laughable initiatives to come along in a long time. Too bad the people proposing this don't have half a clue about how we use genetics in the production of livestock products. THERE WILL BE NO MEAT OR MILK COMING FROM ANY CLONED ANIMALS FOR A LONG TIME. These people are wasting everyone's time.
  • by Smurf ( 7981 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:08PM (#18791261)
    I think you are a bit confused as to the definition of cloning.

    No, precisely his point is that most people (including you) are very confused as to what cloning really means. [] It just turns out that cloning vegetables is so much easier than cloning animals, that we have been doing it for -literally- centuries.
  • Re:Required? Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Werkhaus ( 549466 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:35PM (#18791597)
    >Personally, if I were a dairy farmer, I'd start up a brand with cloning as a gimmick.

    Already being done with beef cattle. 13.htm []
    In this case it's not a gimmick but a way to retain the same high-quality tenderness and flavour genes in his herd.

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:01AM (#18793723) Journal
    'They get diseases more easily, have shorter life-spans and suffer from all sorts of weird conditions like organs that grow at freakish speeds which results in hideous deformities.'

    Yup, but the lifespans are irrelevant since we kill off these animals ahead of time anyway. The diseases we check for, so again, it doesn't matter.

    I was born in cow country. All the abnormalities and birth defects occur with normally grown animals as well, they occur more frequently with clones. I could hang around a couple farms for no more than 2 years and show you enough animal deformities and abnormalities to make you swear off the regular stuff (not that the farmers would be inclined to let me document that). More frequent abnormalities occur with inbreeding and how much more inbred can you get than a clone?

    I'm with those who are selling the meat. Its all the same thing.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:00AM (#18794087) Homepage Journal
    If it's a clone it's a normal animal, if the procedure to do the cloning works correctly... with the same dna as it's older sibling, like somehow having twins that were born months or years apart. How that dna is expressed as genes and proteins, etc is not predetemined... so a cow cloned from a white cow with a big black patch over it's eye will probably have a black patch or patches somewhere but not necessarily over the eye. A clone is not a mutant or genetically engineered... just genetically replicated (same as invitro or regular sexual reproduction).

    So if you pair up two clones from the same dna parent... well it's the same as pairing up two siblings... could be a problem. Pair up two clones from separate dna parents... no problems.

  • by BlueTrin ( 683373 ) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @04:51AM (#18795055) Homepage Journal
    Well not really like the other poster said read some papers.

    article []

    Scientists found out that Dolly is actually one of the best clones ever made, most of the attemps done on mammals did not give as good results.

    When we speak about defects, we mean that none of them is normal, natural born animals have defects usually but in a lesser percentage and do not transmit to the next generation these problems if too important since they just die before to be able to ...
  • by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:46AM (#18797973) Journal
    First, I don't know where some of the posters get their information, but cloned meat from an adult subject is in almost all measurable metrics identical to that of the host. Cloning the best subject leads to higher yield, less steroid use, lower feeding and medical costs for stock, and more. The meat is completely safe. Genetic anomalies being passed through generations are irrelevant since there's only 1 generation. There is no "passing down" a bad gene. Simple every day DNA comparisons can be used to make certain the clone is healthy. Mutations that may occur typically result in failed growth of the embryo. Even if it does survive until birth, deformations of even the slightest measure would be discarded. I like the idea of cheaper, healthier meat. I'm glad they'll be labeling it, and glad the undereducated populous will cause it to cost less than traditionally harvested meats. I'm also glad "organic" meats cost more too. Organic meat if FAR more likely to contain bacterial infection, vitamin deficiency, and other issues that are even more dangerous than mild genetic anomaly. This all means that the best tasting, best cooking, safest meat with BE THE CHEAPEST! It's one of the few times in history that I can actually say I'm glad we have ignorant people that get to make decisions. I'm even OK with genetically modified foods. Although science is now allowing us to directly modify specific genes through DNA and viral modification processes, we've actually been doing it through breeding for hundreds of years. The breeding process is not scientific in any more a way that cross pollination is, and is not regulated either (as science would be strictly monitored). Anyone out there use insulin? Human insulin hormones are provided by genetically modified cows and pigs. Most of you would be dead without this. Also remember, cloning is just becoming possible and is not really affordable yet. Its use does not mean that in 2-3 years every grocery store will be carrying genetically cloned products. We've got several years to implement an exacting system for genetic comparison that can guarantee safe, healthy clones. It will be easy using a simple blood test to tell if a clone is 100% perfect or if it has any issues. We'll also have a map of the genome for the cloned animal and can tell if an unsafe gene is active in the clone or not mere weeks after fertilization. This process will be FAR superior to the FDAs current method of rating meats. I'm all for it.

All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to Gaussian noise. -- James Martin