Clones Safe to Eat Says FDA

The Washington Post is reporting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 968-page report will declare that meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs and goats are as safe to eat as foods from conventionally bred animals. According to the Post:

Scientists ... looked at nutrient levels in meat and milk from a few dozen cattle and pig clones and hundreds of their progeny, and compared them with values from conventional animals. They measured vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12 as well as niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, 12 kinds of fatty acids, cholesterol, fat, protein, amino acids and carbohydrates including lactose.

For almost every measure, the values were virtually the same. The few that differed were still within the range considered normal.

Separately, the agency looked at studies in which milk and meat from clones were fed to animals for up to 3 1/2 months. There was no evidence of health effects, allergic reactions or behavioral changes.

Let's not forget that we have been eating clones for generations. Lots of fruits are clones, including grapes, bananas, and some varieties of apples.

The FDA may allow food produers to label their products as deriving from non-clones. Since at least some meats will derive from elite meat-producing animals, I personally will seek out cloned steaks when they become available.

The International Herald Tribune is reporting that European Food Safety Agency will approve meat and milk from cloned animals as safe to eat, too. This is good news for science-based decision-making, given that Europeans have often been ridiculously risk-averse when it comes to the food products derived from modern biotechnology.

Whole Post article here.

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  • Dave W.||

    The FDA may allow food produers to label their products as deriving from non-clones.

    lol

  • Calidore||

    Ron Bailey,

    Since at least some meats will derive from elite meat-producing animals, I personally will seek out cloned steaks when they become available.

    Wouldn't that decision be determined by the cut of meat involved?

  • ||

    The possible negative health effects of eating cloned meat has NEVER corssed my mind until this post. There I considered it.

    Anybody know where I can get cloned meat? The gengineers aren't going to waste that effort on anything but top of the line, primo animals.

  • Bingo||

    The gengineers aren't going to waste that effort on anything but top of the line, primo animals.

    Could you really eat the world's most perfect steak over and over again for the rest of your life?

    I know I could!

  • kinnath||

    The gengineers aren't going to waste that effort on anything but top of the line, primo animals.

    That's where tech starts, but market forces will drive the research towards producing the mediocre as cheaply as possible.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that (can you say "DVD player for thirty bucks").

  • R C Dean||

    That's where tech starts, but market forces will drive the research towards producing the mediocre as cheaply as possible.

    I can't imagine its any cheaper to clone an average cow than it is to clone an award-winner.

    Your marginal costs will come in how the cow is raised, I suppose, but starting with better genetic stock is bound to raise quality across the board.

    Is there even a theory floating around out there about how cloned meat has health risks not present in bred meat?

  • Calidore||

    kinnath,

    How one cooks the meat is as often as not more important than the cut of meat.

  • kinnath||

    I can't imagine its any cheaper to clone an average cow than it is to clone an award-winner.

    Not necessarilly average. From my limited reading, the most "desirable" traits for cloning would be disease resistance, growth rates, or other any traits that lead to an acceptable product (taste) and lower overally production costs. These are all "above average" traits from the producers point of view, but not neccessarilly what the end consumer cares about.

  • kinnath||

    Fuck IE and its lack of a spell checker.

  • Dave W.||

    Sure, here's one:

    BACKGROUND FACTS:

    1. red meat has been associated with higher incidence of colon cancer:
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/293/2/172

    2. This suggests that red meat has some chemical component in it that causes colon cancer in some way. Let's call the chemical component X.

    THEORY:

    1. Cloned meat has more X.

    I don't think this has been studied because we don't yet know what X is. That means that my theory is an untested theory. It doesn't mean they should ban cloned meat. Some labelling requirements would be appropriate, though, so each individual consumer can choose in light of the stubborn uncertainty. I know, I know. *tiny violin*

  • carrick||

    Dave W. You should spend more time worrying about whatever substance it is that you consume today that leads you to be as whacked out as you already are ;-)

  • Guy Montag||

    Ah ha! The last bit of info I needed before beginning my abandoned urban building veal farming project!

  • thoreau||

    Since at least some meats will derive from elite meat-producing animals, I personally will seek out cloned steaks when they become available.

    So, you prefer the elite "cosmo" clones over the
    old-school "paleo" non-clones.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The question de jour is this: Will PETA still hate me for eating New York Steak concocted in some high-tech lab?

  • Russ 2000||

    Will PETA still hate me for eating New York Steak concocted in some high-tech lab?

    The important thing to remember is SOMEONE will hate you, not necessarily PETA.

  • thoreau||

    The real question, TWC, is which cloned wine you should eat with the cloned steak.

  • kinnath||

    The real question, TWC, is which cloned wine you should eat with the cloned steak.

    A wide variety of Cabernet clones should be appropriate.

  • R C Dean||

    1. Cloned meat has more X.

    Umm, I don't know if that's a theory, quite yet, Dave W. Speculation, perhaps. But not anything I would call a theory, because it can't be tested, since you don't know what to test for.

  • thoreau||

    Fortunately, Dave, we live in a world where there are a lot of people selling organic food. If you're so concerned that biotechnology, pesticides, chemical additives, and whatever else will contaminate your precious bodily fluids, you can go buy the organic stuff.

    I call this the Dan T. solution.

  • ||

    after all these years cloning still sounds cool

  • Dave W.||

    Umm, I don't know if that's a theory, quite yet, Dave W. Speculation, perhaps. But not anything I would call a theory, because it can't be tested, since you don't know what to test for.

    well, let's explore exactly what our difference is here, RCD. Is my theory that there is something in traditional red meat that causes* colon cancer a valid theory in your opinion?

    FOOTNOTE:
    * By "causes," I mean "causes" in the probabilistic sense, rather than in some inevitable or deterministic sense. I really hate to saddle our exchange with this kind of trivia, but I have gotten guff on this point here at HnR in the past (not from you, I don't think, but you never know when the peanut gallery will jump in).

    you can go buy the organic stuff

    That is going to be a whole lot easier in a world of mandatory labelling. Which is all I am proposing here.

  • GILMORE||

    People should be more careful. This is how the Clone Wars started.

    All I care about is can i get a table at Peter Lugars this weekend. Man, if they can clone that shit... the world will be a happier place. Also a fatter place.

    i declare a forcefield around this post preventing anyone from making the ubiquitous, "Lugars is like so overhyped, see, this place in Omaha is 10X better and Im cool cause i know and i hate on Lugars because they dont allow me to order what i want and plus they were rude to my girlfriend and the place wasnt even like that fancy and whats with all the butter? you could eat a shoe cooked like that plus they didnt have my favorite 200yr old scotch and i dont speak german so they were mean"-post

  • Guy Montag||

    All I care about is can i get a table at Peter Lugars this weekend.

    In the future that will be a Taco Bell.

  • kinnath||

    Dave W., please get with the program.

    From: A Glossary of Frequently Misused or Misunderstood Physics Terms and Concepts.
    http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/glossary.htm

    Hypothesis. An untested statement about nature; a scientific conjecture, or educated guess. Formally, a hypothesis is made prior to doing experiments designed to test it.

    Theory. A well-tested mathematical model of some part of science. Theories are said to be successful if (1) they synthesize and unify a significant range of phenomena; (2) they have predictive power, either predicting new phenomena, or suggesting a direction for further research and testing.

  • kinnath||

    Dave W. you have a lot of fears and anxieties, but you rarely state anything that even reaches the definition of even a real hypothesis.

  • ||

    thoreau | January 15, 2008, 12:30pm | #

    The real question, TWC, is which cloned wine you should eat with the cloned steak.



    Thoreau got a link on Andrew Sullivan yesterday.

  • Dave W.||

    Theory. A well-tested mathematical model of some part of science.

    I cited an article posted in JAMA that had a study regarding red meat consumption and colon cancer. Isn't that sufficient testing to give my speculation the status of a "theory?" If not why not?

  • Bingo||

    Dave W:

    What kind of red meat? What were the sources of the meat? How was it raised? How was it prepared? What other common lifestyle activities did the consumers participate in?

    Most people that eat like crap happen to eat a lot of red meat, but correlation is not the same thing as causation. Someone that eats 4 Big Macs for dinner is not in the same diet bracket as someone that has a nice lean steak.

  • kinnath||

    I cited an article posted in JAMA that had a study regarding red meat consumption and colon cancer. Isn't that sufficient testing to give my speculation the status of a "theory?" If not why not?

    You made a couple of wild-ass, unsupported claims.

    1) the correlation of red meat consumption and colon cancer is due to a mysterious compound X. By itself, the possibility is not supported by anything you have stated so far, but it is also within the realm of possibility given the causes of other types of cancers.

    2) cloning could somehow result in higher concentrations of this mysterious compound X. This is a totaly unsupported claim that has no basis in any observed effect of cloning that I am aware of.

    Taken in combination, your two claims are largely bullshit, and that combination doesn't even equate to a bad hypothesis.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The real question, TWC, is which cloned wine you should eat with the cloned steak.

    There's a lot of that cloned wine going around already. :-)

  • ed||

    I'm assuming cloned people will still be off the menu?

  • kinnath||

    Dave, there is a direct correlation between my inability to read the newspaper without my bifocals and the fact that my beard has gone grey.

    So, I hypothesize that I can get rid of glasses if I dye my beard back to its orginal color.

    At least my hypothesis is easy enough to test.

  • kinnath||

    I'm assuming cloned people will still be off the menu?

    You need to wait for virtual people.

  • ||

    Will cloned meat have any effect on the "meat is murder" argument? Or am I thinking of another way of growing meat (in vats or something)?

  • ||

    Jim Bob -
    You're probably thinking of stem cell meat.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I'm assuming cloned people will still be off the menu?

    Depends upon what you're eating I suppose.

  • ||

    Thanks, Reinmoose. :D

  • ||

    At first glance I thought title of the article was -- Clone says FDA safe to eat.

  • R C Dean||

    Dave W., you've got a number of problems to overcome before you can achieve your dream of banning cloned meat:

    (1) You need to confirm that red meat is correlated with colon cancer.

    (2) You need to confirm that red meat causes colon cancer.

    (3) You need to establish what it is in red meat that causes colon cancer.

    (4) You need to demonstrate that this causative factor is more present in cloned meat than in bred meat.

  • ||

    Oh, *now* you trust the government? Carnivores are so cute sometimes.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Few here trust the government.

  • kinnath||

    I always trust the government to behave in ways that benefit the government.

  • ||

    Will cloned meat have any effect on the "meat is murder" argument? Or am I thinking of another way of growing meat (in vats or something)?

    Perhaps you were thinking of this.

    From the article -
    In a paper in the June 29 issue of Tissue Engineering, a team of scientists, including University of Maryland doctoral student Jason Matheny, propose two new techniques of tissue engineering that may one day lead to affordable production of in vitro - lab grown - meat for human consumption. It is the first peer-reviewed discussion of the prospects for industrial production of cultured meat.

    Neat stuff, huh?

  • Dave W.||

    Dave W., you've got a number of problems to overcome before you can achieve your dream of banning cloned meat:

    (1) You need to confirm that red meat is correlated with colon cancer.

    (2) You need to confirm that red meat causes colon cancer.

    (3) You need to establish what it is in red meat that causes colon cancer.


    Putting aside the cloned meat for a second, I was trying to figure out whether I had established a "theory" even for traditional meat. Presumably the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association, some of the people at your hospital may have heard of it) establishes (1) and (2). If the JAMA article didn't deal with (1) and (2) sufficiently, then why don't you think that?

    As far as (3) do you really have to establish (3) to have a theory? Is it really impossible to just have a general theory that something in red meat causes colon cancer, without knowing the exact identity of the something?

  • kinnath||

    High intake of red and processed meat reported in 1992/1993 was associated with higher risk of colon cancer after adjusting for age and energy intake but not after further adjustment for body mass index, cigarette smoking, and other covariates.

    Dave, this is a very, very, very long way from indicating that red meat "causes" cancer.

    So as I posted earlier you are making two wild-ass, unsupported claims that something in red meat contributes to cancer and that cloning will somehow increase this effect.

    So you are still full of shit.

  • ||

    I'm waiting for the clone that says it's ok to eat the FDA.

  • R C Dean||

    Correlation is not causation, Dave. They need to posit and prove up the mechanism by which red meat causes cancer. That hasn't been done yet, I assure you.

    And even if they get that far, you will still need to prove that cloned meat is worse than bred meat.

    Plus, I got news for you:

    The cloned cows are going to be used for breeding stock. Its too expensive to clone them for slaughter. So all the meat you eat will be from the descendants of cloned cows, but will not be from the clones themselves.

  • ||

    I swear to god I just ate this same sandwich for lunch just last week.

  • ||

    This is excellent news!

  • ||

    This is exellent news!

  • ||

    This is excellent newss!

  • ||

    Tis is exellent newss!

  • ||

    Tis is axellent newss!

  • ||

    Tis i axel...ugh!

  • ||

    Dave W., you're making an awfully big leap of faith in calling a single study published in JAMA (or even a couple of studies published in JAMA... or even two dozen studies published anywhere) sufficient "meat" to be called a theory.

    As a scientist, I appreciate and thank you for your faith in us, but that's not how we roll.

    1. Correlation is NOT causation: "high beef consumption is positively correlated with the incidence of colon cancer," is a fine correlative statement, but it doesn't mean anything substantive. It is, however, an okay place to start building your hypothesis.

    2. So your hypothesis is, "beef consumption causes colon cancer." Good, now how do you test that? Your hypothesis isn't complete until you insert a How statement. What's the mechanism?

    3. You could say, "beef consumption causes colon cancer because eaters of great quantities of beef build up [a particular substance which you think is relevant because you've done preliminary testing of preliminary hypotheses which indicate this substance may be involved] in their large intestines which enters the epithelial cells by [some other mechanism you have similarly defined by hypothesis, testing and validation] and causes [some complex molecular change in the DNA structure/nuclear envelope/some signalling pathway/some other biochemical mechanism] which leads to a loss of apoptosis and unregulated cell division (cancer)."

    Good Job! Now your hypothesis is developed and you're ready to test it.

    4. You weren't ready for this, were you? This is tough. Complex biochemical, genetic and molecular biological pathways take a long, long time to dissect. In the field, we do this by developing ever finer hypotheses, picking at each step of the mechanism, experimenting to determine how each pair of molecules interacts, gradually drawing a picture of what's going on.

    And guess what? You're still not at a theory.

    Why? Because only people who are trying to derive overarching general principles (evolution, string theory, relativity, etc.) get to have theories.

    Those of us who deal with the nose-to-the-grindstone science stick to hypotheses because we know that the process of science is never finished and what you learn only leads to more questions - more hypotheses.

    No one studying cancer or any other molecular process ever talks about "theory" because we're not talking about principles and ideas. We're talking about nuts and bolts - how molecules interact with each other in physical ways.

    Ok? So stop with the theory talk already. It's an inappropriate use of the term.

  • ||

    Lordy, lookit all the effort I put into what is probably a dead thread. I think I'm going to cry.

  • Dave W.||

    I am talking about what it takes to establish a "theory." RCD and some of the lesser lights are talking about what it takes to prove a theory. We are talking past each other.

    I don't think it has been proven that red meat causes colon cancer. That is why I don't want it banned. Even if it was prove that red meat somehow caused colon cancer at the molecular level, I probably still want it banned.

    Neverthless, I think mandatory labelling is a nice intermediate measure when food has potential unknown, perhaps unknowable risks. With traditional red meat, no labelling is needed because people grow up with the stuff and can make the judgement for themselves. However, with cloned meat we don't know the risk and should require labelling. Some ppl may want to hold off and see how long Ron Bailey and RCD and THoreau actually live. We should give them this option, and, in fact, we should make this option as easy to exercise as possible. It does not hamper Bailey's or RCD's or Thoreau's anticipated clone eating in the slightest.

  • Dave W.||

    Correction:

    --I probably still wouldn't want it banned.--

  • ||

    I believe meat from cloned animals likely would be safe for food.
    HOWEVER; the gene pool for our food animals is already shrinking rapidly. Add cloned production and now existing genetic diversity will implode. What then when something not now on the horizon appears and all these super similar animals fail? Eat insects for protein?

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