The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of meat and milk from cloned animals, to the consternation of animal rights activists, religious groups and consumer advocates.
The decision had been expected, given that tests of meat and milk show no discernible difference to foods now for sale.
Unexpected was a statement from the USDA, which, as the Washington Post reported, asked farmers to keep cloned foods off the market.
Animal rights activists believe cloning can be cruel, some religious groups oppose genetic manipulating on this scale and consumer advocates aren't convinced cloning won't introduce new food safety issues.
It is the offspring of cloned animals, not the cloned animals themselves, that would end up as food, according to USA Today.
A provision of the Farm Bill being negotiated in Congress now could prevent, or delay, the introduction of cloned foods in the marketplace, where there is no requirement to label them. The Senate has approved a measure that would require additional safety testing of meat and milk from cloned animals.
Many processed foods already include ingredients that have been genetically manipulated. Most corn and soy grown in the United States today is grown with seeds engineered either to produce substances toxic to insect pests, or to withstand herbicides. Some of the same advocates who oppose the widespread use of genetically modified seeds oppose the sale of food from cloned animals, but they are up against some of the same government bureaucracies and agribusiness interests that have prevailed in the past.
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