Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Cloning technology is now being considered as one of the genetic engineering routes to upgrade quality of meat animals. Many producers are constrained to go for this technology because of cost consideration and legal aspects. There are not many working farms in the world that produce cloned animals and countries like US are ambiguous in permitting foods derived from cloned sources though they have not been officially banned. What is perplexing is that adequate data have not been generated to prove the long term safety of foods from cloned animals and the safety issue gets more clouded when it comes to successive generation of animals originating from cloned parentage.

"The safety of food derived from cloning is currently not questioned by the EU or US authorities (EurActiv 18/01/08; EurActiv 25/07/08). But the US Food and Drug Administration has encouraged American farmers to voluntarily keep their cloned animals off the market during an unspecified transition period to allow the US Department of Agriculture to work with interested industry stakeholders to "ensure a smooth and seamless transition into the marketplace for these products".The European Parliament's call for complete ban on food from clones, if followed by the 27 member states, could thus lead to yet another bitter transatlantic food trade dispute sometime in the future. Examples of major EU-US trade disputes in the food and agriculture sector include those concerning genetically modified organisms, hormone beef and chlorinated chicken".

Cloning as a tool to protect species that face extinction is considered most relevant to day but its use for food production still faces lot of hurdles. Some experts feel that cloning technology can still be relevant to the meat industry in so far as evolving master breeds with high resistance to many diseases from which commercial animals can be produced. Not much studies have been done to understand the long term effect of cloning though limited short term investigations have not brought out any thing unusual compared to normally bred animals. Meat from cloned versions of goat, cow and pig is considered safe but their commercial production is unlikely in the near future. Same is true with milk also. Probably consumer reservation about cloning which is not considered "natural" is keeping the products from cloned animals off the market shelves,at least for the time being.


No comments: