F.D.A. Jumps the (Cloned) Shark

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


The New York Times reports that the F.D.A. offered a draft resolution today, announcing its intention to approve the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals. A voluntary moratorium on food from cloned animals has been in place since 2001 to allow the F.D.A. to study its safety. But critics say the science is still shaky.

The F.D.A., which has long maintained that cows given growth hormones produce milk which is “indistinguishable” from that of hormone-free cows, concludes that milk and meat from cloned animals is “virtually indistinguishable” from those of—let’s call them real animals. The agency isn’t even suggesting any special labeling for the products. I find that frightening. And roughly 65 percent of consumers agree, indicating in a recent poll that they are uncomfortable with the idea of cloned food. The dairy industry has also expressed some discomfort, after a survey revealed that 14 percent of women would stop using dairy products altogether if milk from clones was introduced.

A few juicy highlights from the Times story:

[E]ven if two animals have identical genes, they can turn out differently if those genes are turned on or off at different times.…These differences are presumed to account in large measure for the low success rate of cloning. Fetuses can grow unusually large…Many clones die during gestation or shortly after birth. Some are born with deformed heads or limbs or problems with their hearts, lungs or other organs.

Yummy.

The draft assessment based its conclusions in part on studies, some done by cloning companies, comparing the composition of the milk, meat and blood of cloned animals and conventional animals.

Said one F.D.A. officer: “I ate this meat and I found it delicious. I ate this meat and I found it delicious.” I’m convinced.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.