A broad coalition of consumer, farmer, and animal welfare organizations last week applauded passage of a provision in the Senate's Farm Bill that would delay the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) endorsement of the use of food from cloned animals. This amendment calls for a rigorous and careful review of the human health and economic impacts of bringing cloned food into America's food supply.
"The passage of this bill with the amendment is like a gift for the holidays," said Joseph Mendelson, Legal Director of the Center for Food Safety. "The FDA's flawed and cavalier approach to cloned food and its potential impacts called for a truly rigorous scientific assessment. At a time when the FDA has repeatedly failed the public, this amendment will ensure that the American consumer is considered before any special interest."
The amendment requires that two rigorous studies be performed before the FDA is able to issue a final decision on food from clones. The amendment directs the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to convene a blue-ribbon panel of leading scientists to review the FDA's initial decision that food from cloned animals is safe. The amendment further requires the NAS to study the potential health impacts of cloned foods entering the nation's food supply, including the possible effects of lessened milk consumption (due to consumer avoidance of cloned food) leading to development of chronic diseases as a result. The bill also directs the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to examine consumer acceptance of cloned foods and the likely impacts they could have on domestic and international markets.