Attack Of The Clones!

As you all know by now (we mentioned it this morning, and so has everyone else on the Internet), the FDA has cleared cloned meat for consumption. By humans! American humans! So we made some lists:


1) The meat from any given cloned animal probably is safe - more a non-con than a pro, though

2) We clone vegetables and that’s okay, right?

3) High-quality and -yield animals can be selected and propagated - resulting in cheaper good meat for consumers


1) Monoculture is bad - if you only have one type of thing, and a lot of it, it’s susceptible to disease, environmental factors, etc.

2) Animal cloning is lossy - successive generations will decline in quality and possibly safety; sexual reproduction and genetic variation became evolutionarily dominant for a reason

3) Cloned animals are a lot more complex than cloned vegetables. They really aren’t analogous

4) The economics of cloning prevent commercial rollout anytime soon, but the goal of the cloners is ultimately to take the risk and cost out of producing high-quality meat, not lower its selling price

5) There aren’t really any plans to mandate labeling for cloned meat, and people really aren’t going to like that. Europe allows cloned meat, but requires labeling

Basically, there is no compelling reason to allow (as opposed to not disallow) cloned meat except to increase the profits of agribusiness. It may not kill us, but it won’t make us stronger, either. Even if there isn’t a long-term direct impact on our health, there will definitely be long-term impacts on our food infrastructure and the environment. We don’t think the FDA is being criminally remiss in its duties - but like its weakening of “organic,” its laxity on hormone use and its distaste for labeling, it’s hard not to feel like the FDA’s science is oriented by politics, and the wrong politics at that.

F.D.A. Tries to Convince a Skeptical Public on Cloned Food [NYTimes]

[Photo: guyscoop/flickr]


Attack Of The Clones!