FDA Ends a Five-Year Delinquency

The FDA’s draft risk assessment and management plan addressing the food safety issues surrounding cloned animals is better late than never. The agency has been delinquent in waiting five years to begin this public evaluation of cloned animals, requiring consumers to rely on the food industry and cloning companies to voluntarily refrain from introducing cloning animals into the food supply.

We hope the FDA’s draft will begin a process in which consumers’ number-one concern about cloned animals, their safety as food, will be addressed in a transparent regulatory process using all available scientific evidence. There are many other controversial issues surrounding animal cloning, including ethical and animal welfare concerns. While those aren’t food safety issues, there should be a governmental forum to explore them and adopt appropriate policies. Congressional hearings might start a robust societal dialogue on those issues.

Americans want to know that the food on their plates is safe to eat. If FDA ultimately determines that cloned animals are safe to eat and if those cloned animals provide societal benefits, consumers may feel more comfortable about eating those foods. To date, the cloning industry has not provided the public with any information about why cloned animals are needed in food production, who benefits from their use, and how they might benefit the consumer at all.