Chow Cloned Food: What Gets Measured Matters
posted by January 15 at 12:42 PMon
The FDA just determined that food from cloned animals is safe for human consumption. What standard did they use to make that assessment? According to the Washington Post,
the same simple but effective standard used by farmers since the dawn of agriculture: If a farm animal appears in all respects to be healthy, then presume that food from that animal is safe to eat.
Feeling reassured? Consider this: Cows with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or “mad cow” disease, “appear in all respects to be healthy,” too—all respects the FDA measures, that is. That’s how they’ve ended up in our food supply. There are many aspects of food safety we simply don’t understand—BSE-causing particles called prions, for example—so I’m not convinced that a “health” assessment (which found, incidentally, that newborn cloned cows were “usually extremely overweight and have respiratory, gastrointestinal and immune system problems,” but that they “somehow” got over those problems) is enough to ensure the safety of cloned meat. In fact, most clones are kept alive with high doses of antibiotics and other medications—more veterinary drugs that will end up in our already polluted meat supply. Clones, in fact, are often born horribly disfigured and fatally diseased; although cloning proponents assure consumers that most defective clones die young, the fact is that cloning is only ten years old, and the “long-term studies” on the safety of cloned meat lasted all of three and a half months. The rush came, of course, at the behest of agribusiness companies in a hurry to make money breeding cloned animals; and since they’ve done such an awesome job running that whole factory-food system, why not fast-track cloning, too?