The FDA wants to approve the sale of meat from cloned animals and their offspring. So the Los Angeles Times arranged a dinner party to which I devoutly wish I had been invited–one in which diners compared steaks from conventionally raised cows and those from the offspring of cloned cows. The "cloned" meat didn't actually come from a cloned cow (they are too expensive to just slaughter and eat), but from cows born using the sperm of a clone of the prize winning bull, Full Flush.
Nutrition scold, Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, refused the invitation to dine, telling the LA Times:
"I'd rather eat my running shoes than eat meat from a cloned animal."
On the other hand, USC sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong, accepted with gusto. Glassner clearly understands interest group politics.
A survey last year by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology found that 64% of Americans were uncomfortable with animal cloning…
Glassner, the sociologist, was quick to assign blame for what he perceived as scare-mongering. "It comes from politicians and advocacy groups that make the association." …
"You think the word 'clone' just came out of the sky and we're afraid of it?" Glassner responded. "There are a lot of interests that benefit from the hysteria. Politicians sound like they're for safe food, and they're going to protect us from this Frankenstein future that we hear about. And beyond that, there is a premium that many people will pay for meat that's labeled as noncloned. The organic industry — they're thrilled about this."
Was there a difference in taste? None. So that raises the next question: why pay more for "cloned" beef? Gustatory novelty, perhaps? In any case, steaks from cloned cattle will certainly taste better than Schlosser's Adidas.
Whole LA Times article here.