Clone-burger anyone? With fries or without?
In January 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration made international news when it declared that it’s perfectly safe for Americans to eat meat or drink milk from cloned cattle, pigs and sheep. The FDA’s conclusion after six years of research is that foods from cloned animals are biologically distinguishable from meat and milk from any other animal.
Industry analysts say it may still take a few years for meat from cloned cows to start showing up at a grocery store near you but cloned cow’s milk could hit the market relatively soon. And you may not even know it. The federal agency is not requiring any special labels identifying these products.
But if opinion polls are correct, millions of Americans don’t care to sample them.
A yearly poll of the International Food Information Council shows consistent public confidence in the FDA, its labeling standards, and the quality of U.S. food – except when “cloning” comes up. In 2006, only 16 percent of respondents voiced a “favorable” impression of livestock cloning, and 44 percent said they were not likely to buy cloned meat, milk or eggs, even if the FDA declared them safe.
Region’s Role in the Science of Food
- Scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia were the first to successfully clone a pig. In 2001, Kansas State University successfully cloned its first cow, Chloe.
- Four of the world’s top 10 animal health companies are either based in the area or use Kansas City as their U.S. headquarters.
- Kansas is short listed to house the federal government’s new $450 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. It would be the nation’s foremost laboratory and research center for combating threats to animal health and America’s food supply.
- Kansas is the second largest cattle state and one of the nation’s biggest beef processors in the country.
- Missouri is home to the world’s largest genetically modified seed company, Monsanto.
- Kansas is at the center of a national controversy over biopharming. In 2007 farmers in western Kansas planted the commercial crop of human-gene enhanced rice that its developers say will fend off severe diarrhea in Third World countries. Critics claim the 3,000-acre rice farm could contaminate other crops and lead to people being unwittingly exposed to the drugs through the food chain.
Would you buy or eat meat from cloned animals?
KCPT explores the myths and realities of cloned meat and other science-enhanced foods in FRANKENFOOD: Science at the Dinner Table.
Host Nick Haines brings together a diverse panel of scientists and experts and takes your calls in this last installment of its yearlong local science series, KC Science Inc.
FRANKENFOOD: Science at the Dinner Table is a project of KC Science INC, a grant funded initiative encouraging interest in science and inspiring natural curiosity. Partners include Johnson County Library, Science City at Union Station, Pathfinder Science, Science Pioneers, Linda Hall Library, The Children’s Museum of Kansas City, Wonderscope and YouthFriends.