GMO Food

Attack of the Cloned Food

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cloned food

The FDA recently extended the comment period for the public to expresses its views on the introduction of milk and meat from cloned animals into the food supply.

A bunch of food trade groups sent a letter to the FDA during the initial comment period asserting that it is "in the public interest of the agency to take the time needed to 'get it right'." And The Center for Food Safety (check out their poster at right) wants you to send a letter demanding that, among other things, food products from cloned animals pass "independent and transparent long-term testing (with the burden of proof of safety on the clone developer)." 

This is the precautionary principle at work: The idea that "if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action."

But as reasonable as the precautionary principle seems at first, it practice its terms are nearly impossible to satisfy. First, it asks the companies to prove a negative–that nothing bad can happen because of cloned meat and milk. Further, it demands scientific consensus that the products of genetically identical animals are indistinguishable from what's already on the market. Which they are, by definition. But as last week's excellent article by Ron Bailey pointed out, "scientific consensus" is a notoriously slippery concept.

"Based on FDA's analysis of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and other studies on the health and food composition of clones and their offspring, the draft risk assessment has determined that meat and milk from clones and their offspring are as safe as food we eat every day," says Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. There's a reason for this–it's the same food.

At least there's this, in response to many of the 4,000 comments posted on the FDA's site raising moral concerns about cloning: "The [FDA] has said that it will limit its judgment to the science of cloning because it does not have the legal authority to address the ethics or morality of the debate."

One comment on the FDA site, from a Ms. Johnne Fischer, who obviously opposes the approval of cloned foods at the moment, says: "I refuse to buy meat and dairy products that do not tell me the origin." For Ms. Fischer and those like her, there's a simple solution that doesn't involve a ban. Some producers are bound to take the trouble to ensure that their supply chain is clone-free and boast of that fact on their labels.

More from Ron Bailey on the precautionary principle here.

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  1. Perhaps worth pointing out that the precautionary principle violates itself.
    That is, it has been adopted despite never having satisfied its own criteria for adoption.

    Someone needs to prove that the precautionary principle does, in all cases, less harm than any conceivable alternative.

    hugs,
    Shirley Knott

  2. Sorry, comments are closed. Shirley Knott said everything that needs to be said.

    Move along.

    Moose, go back to your bunk.

    Everybody else, go talk about Imus.

  3. I have no idea what above article is about, but I just had to share this little tidbit about the movie business getting a taste of its own medicine.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I bet it’s preceded by one of those stupid little “You wouldn’t steal a movie from the rental store. Why would you want to steal by downloading?” commercials. As what’s-her-face would ask in her song, “Well, isn’t it Ironic? Don’t ya think?”

    I drink to every penny that he can squeeze out of those scumbags. And that’s a lot of drinking…not that I mind.

  4. highnumber,

    I miss your blog already :/

    Did you get a look at the statue erected in your honor?

    Too bad you were never able to get that campaign for Mayor of Dallas off the ground. Maybe next time!

  5. Labelling.

    Should be required.

    On all clone products.

    Then the market can decide to what extent, if any, they want to follow the precautionary principle on a family by family basis.

    Good libertarian plan, that.

    This is the kind of post where you can really see that HnR is more corporatarian than libertarian.

  6. I don’t see what Bailey is claiming in the language of the Precautionary Principle.

    We ask drug makers to “prove a negative” in the same way – to show that their product won’t cause harm. The proof falls on them. And they meet it all the time.

    Also, that article doesn’t show that “scientific consensus” is a slippery concept. It showed, or purported to show, that some environmentalists paid homage to the scientific consensus in one circumstance, and ignored it in another. It was the tactics of activists that were slippery, not the idea of consensus.

  7. What’s up with Imus? Did he die? Get caught with a bunch of drugs? Has it been on the news?

  8. “We ask drug makers to “prove a negative” in the same way – to show that their product won’t cause harm. The proof falls on them. And they meet it all the time.”

    Yes after years and years of expensive testing. What about the people who die in the meantime because they couldn’t get the treatment? Yeah, we hear all about Thalidomide but we never hear about the people who die needlessly while treatments that could have saved them are stuck in the FDA approval process. The problem with the precautionary principle is that it doesn’t take into account the cost of delaying treatment.

  9. Aw, shucks, jimmy. I did see the statue and I meant to thank you.
    Did you hear what’s coming up this Friday?

  10. We ask drug makers to “prove a negative” in the same way – to show that their product won’t cause harm. The proof falls on them. And they meet it all the time.

    Exactly.

    I don’t see it as some insurmountable bar to demand scientific evidence that ingesting cloned foods over a long period of time have proves to have no ill effects.

    I also agree that any foods that may contain cloned products should be labeled as such. Why is obfuscation of that fact acceptable?

    If these food makers are so worried about the public rejecting cloned goods maybe they should rethink what they are selling rather than trying to force them upon people who would choose an alternative given all the info, no?

  11. “If these food makers are so worried about the public rejecting cloned goods maybe they should rethink what they are selling rather than trying to force them upon people who would choose an alternative given all the info, no?”

    Or maybe people who are so concerned about cloned food should create their own non-cloned food market. I look at it like kosher food. For religous reasons some people demand Kosher food. Same thing here, these people have a religous adversion to cloned food, then go to the non-cloned section.

  12. Anything can cause harm.

    Peanuts can cause fatal anaphlactic reactions in some people. By the guidelines they set, some nanny-state idiot will try to ban pea…

    Oh, shit. We’re doomed.

  13. A chronic vegetative state is one possible explanation of many erstwhile science journalists’ failure to realize they are biting into clone-flesh whenever they sink their teeth into grafted tree fruit.

  14. Wow, green milk eh? I bet it’s delicious with green eggs and ham.

    I believe there should be an onus on clone developers to ensure that the output from the clone is exactly the same as the output from the original. If that’s the case, I don’t see the need for additional labeling.

    However, if it were labeled, I might find a little joy in the possibility that on Monday I ate Molly the cow, and on Tuesday, I ate Molly the cow, and 5 years from now I’ll be eating Molly the same cow. Kinda funny, no?

  15. I guess it is impossible to prove that a population that eats the exact same beef over and over again for years on end may eventually be susceptible to otherwise innocuous allergens rather than having defenses because they allowed their food supply to change and evolve ever so slightly over the years.

    That is, of course, until it is too late.

    Hey, just label it——let my kids worry about in 40 years.

  16. I don’t see what Bailey is claiming in the language of the Precautionary Principle. We ask drug makers to “prove a negative” in the same way – to show that their product won’t cause harm. The proof falls on them. And they meet it all the time.

    We ask for proof that a product is safe when there is reason to believe that products of that sort may have a substantial propensity to cause harm. The testing takes place within a general scientific theory governing the properties of those types of products–a theory that grounds the safety concern. Basically, one has to prove that the product isn’t among that subclass of that product type that causes harm.

    The Precautionary Principle seems to require that safety be proved even in the absence of reasons to believe that there is a safety issue at all, and this strikes me as a much higher standard. In other words, the PP seems (in some cases) to say, “Well, maybe there’s a danger. I don’t know how or why there would be, but prove there isn’t.”

  17. what’s coming up this friday, highnumber?

  18. I also agree that any foods that may contain cloned products should be labeled as such. Why is obfuscation of that fact acceptable?

    The little game is that the shelf space in the popular supermarkets is bought by cloned product makers.

    Now, if, say, all the milk is labelled as “CLONED,” then shoppers will hunt out smaller stores that sell non-cloned milk. The smaller stores will be easier to get to because they will become popular and there will be more of them. There will be competition, in reality.

    On the other hand, if the labels on the milk simply don’t say anything, then people will not think about the issue and consume the cloned milk. Some motivated ones will hunt out smaller stores with non-cloned, but it will be more difficult because of all the people who buy the unlabelled clone milk without giving it a second thought will mean less customers for the smaller stores, which, in turn, will mean less smaller stores. There will be competition in theory, but not reality.

    This is the margin that is really be argued here, although M-W’s post does its best to obscure that.

    the FDA should also clarify what the legal liability is if it turns out that clone products have latent health defects. This potential liability should be handled on a national basis, rather than state by state because the switch to clone products is very much interstate commerce (within the original intent meaning of the Constitution).

  19. “the FDA should also clarify what the legal liability is”

    should have been:

    –the FDA should encourage Congress to clarify what the legal liability is–

  20. Or maybe people who are so concerned about cloned food should create their own non-cloned food market.

    The people who want to introduce
    the alternative product should bear the burden of labeling.

  21. Aresen, my son can die if comes in contact with peanuts. It is pretty scary, daily. Personally, I don’t like the peanut bans. I’d rather the teacher be scared shitless at all times.

    Not that you said anything to the contrary, just giving info.

  22. I also agree that any foods that may contain cloned products should be labeled as such. Why is obfuscation of that fact acceptable?

    I also agree that any foods that may have been produced in a rectangular building should be labeled as such. Why is obfuscation of that fact acceptable?

    When there is reason to believe that cloned food is a safety or health issue, put it on the labels. Until then, it is just another in a long list of irrelevancies.

  23. Henceforth I shall only eat uncloned veal!

  24. jimmy,
    Read my last blog post.

  25. The people who want to introduce
    the alternative product should bear the burden of labeling.

    Straight out of an Archer-Danield Midland press release.

  26. Drug companies, once they pass FDA muster for a drug, have to replicate the drug using an exact protocol – same type of production machinery, etc. They don’t have to get FDA approval over and over again each time they make the a new batch of the same drug. So,
    could the FDA certify Molly the Cow as being wholesome for human consumption (which should take hours not many years), and then as long as Molly the Cow was cloned using an approved protocol, assume the cloned flesh was edible, just as it assumes protocol-following drugs are safe?

  27. “I don’t see it as some insurmountable bar to demand scientific evidence that ingesting cloned foods over a long period of time have proves to have no ill effects.”

    From the post:

    “Based on FDA’s analysis of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and other studies on the health and food composition of clones and their offspring, the draft risk assessment has determined that meat and milk from clones and their offspring are as safe as food we eat every day,” says Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

  28. And, to follow up:

    The obvious counterclaim is ‘but it might have effects 10 years from now, or 20, or 100, or 200.’

    How long, in your estimation, should we wait before adopting a new technology? What’s the ‘right’ length of time to judge something ‘safe’? (for whatever ‘safe’ means; water can kill you if you drink too much of it)

    One decade? Two? An average lifetime? Two average lifetimes?

    It’s pretty clear that the purpose behind the precautionary principle is not safety, it’s stopping progress.

  29. The people who want to introduce the alternative product should bear the burden of labeling.

    I don’t know. I would imagine that the reverse would be true, and in fact be a selling point for food products from non-cloned sources.

    A big happy face with a “guaranteed free from cloning” seal of approval would be a benefit for the companies able to qualify. Kinda like how there is a premium market for “certified organic” food, and how every fricking manufacturer has no problem with stamping “trans-fat free” on products.

    ** Note to self – forgetting the close bracket on a tag makes post come up empty.

  30. How long, in your estimation, should we wait before adopting a new technology? What’s the ‘right’ length of time to judge something ‘safe’? (for whatever ‘safe’ means; water can kill you if you drink too much of it)

    1. How long did it take Dolly the Sheep to drop dead? Some multiple of that timespan for me, personally.

    2. If we label the cloned product, then everybody can decide this hard question for him or herself. If we don’t, then we make it very difficult for the people who want to wait longer than the HitnRun crew would wait.

  31. What’s the ‘right’ length of time to judge something ‘safe’?

    – how long does it take to get cancer from smoking?

    – how long does it take to get diabetes from overconsumption of sugar?

  32. How long did it take Dolly the Sheep to drop dead? Some multiple of that timespan for me, personally.

    Then I suggest you, personally, wait that long before eating any cloned food.

    And let me decide for myself.

  33. CAB

    I wish everyone could accept responsibility the way your family does.

    The peanut ban in schools does get a twinge of sympathy from me in that I know some kids can be nasty little bullys and might think it was ‘fun’ to force a kid with the peanut allergy to eat one.

    Pat Conroy in his story about his years at VMI, “The Boo”, mentions a case where a plebe with a tomato allergy was forced by a senior classman to drink several glasses of tomato juice. The senior classman had full knowledge of the allergy.

  34. OK, we all know that murder tastes good, but is cloned murder as tasty as real murder?

  35. Is cloned beef identical to non-cloned beef, even down to the molecular level? If so, why would we assume that the health effects of eating cloned beef are any different than those of eating regular beef?

  36. Thanks lunchstealer. I just had to google that and came up with the following (not for the week of stomach): LINK

  37. “If we don’t, then we make it very difficult for the people who want to wait longer than the HitnRun crew would wait.”

    I think it’s more accurate to say that we make it moderately more difficult, but still well within the means of most people, who can buy organic, buy from local providers, etc. If you can’t afford the extra cost you’re out of luck, but then forced labeling won’t do much to help those people anyway, at least in the short- to shortish-term.

  38. (and no, it’s not a photo of Barbara Mikulski)

  39. The State doesn’t require makers of generic drugs to repeat the safety trials of the original patent holder/manufacturer.Why should milk/food producers do so? They aren’t making a new product.

  40. If we label the cloned product, then everybody can decide this hard question for him or herself. If we don’t, then we make it very difficult for the people who want to wait longer than the HitnRun crew would wait.

    That’s pretty much my position on it as well.

    I don’t want it banned — but I do want it labeled. It shouldn’t be allowed to just be mixed in with non-cloned meats and people have no way of knowing which is which.

    If we want people to be able to make these decisions for themsleves, then why do we want to make it difficult to get the information to make these decisions, or why must rely on the hope that producers will voluntarily decide to label things one way or another.

    The reason why I think the cloned meat should be labeled is because that is the new product. Most people rightly assume that meats, etc are not cloned. Now you want to change the status of those meats without having to change the underlying assumption. If you want to try and change the status quo, then you should be forced to inform people that the status quo is changing. Otherwise you are trying to be deceptive — and if you are being deceptive, it is fair to assume you have something to hide.

  41. -how long does it take to get cancer from smoking?

    These is a very different situation from cloning, because we have a strong indication at the start (from a basic understanding of biology and some minimal amount of common sense) that smoking may be harmful.

    Ethan made a good point at 4:44 about the difference between, say, drugs that are specifically designed to alter our metabolism or body chemistry in some way, and so would reasonably be considered a significant health risk, and cloned milk. The amount of evidence you require to deem something safe should have some correlation to reasonable a priori estimates of risk. I’m not willing to say cloned milk is 100% totally without any additional risk compared to normal milk, but it’s a lot closer to that end of the spectrum than to the experimental drug end.

  42. Can someone explain to me the difference between a steak from a cloned cow and one from a non-cloned cow? What, if anything, is different? Are there changes in the chemical or physical make-up of the meat? If not, why are we worried?

  43. If not, why are we worried?

    Because the nation’s vagina is full of sand. Man up, you bunch of fucking Nancies.

  44. Given the very, very long history of cloned vegetables, fruits and tubers I don’t see cloning as any real issue. I think that it should be treated like the Organic or Free-Trade labels, on a voluntary basis. If you are concerned that your milk may have come from a cloned Bessy, then by all means search out the “Clone-Free” milk just as you do “free range” and “hormone free” beef today.

    If you are truly interested in not consuming any cloned organisms, I suggest you stay away from potatoes, avocados, bananas and tarragon at the very least. Also, any apple that has a specific name like “Fuji”or “Granny Smith” is to be avoided. Garlic and Onions are also a no-go (though pearl onions may be alright depending on how they were harvested). Just about any store bought produce is raised from cloned stock, and has been for decades (or centuries in some cases). Plants make it easy to do so and have demonstrably proven that cloned organisms are just that, clones, copies, exact replicas of the parent. This is not bio-engineering that modifies the gene code of the organism, it is cloning.

    In the immortal words of Rob Schneider, “Making Copies.”

  45. Now, if, say, all the milk is labelled as “CLONED,” then shoppers will hunt out smaller stores that sell non-cloned milk. The smaller stores will be easier to get to because they will become popular and there will be more of them. There will be competition, in reality.

    You realize that most grocery stores sell multiple brands of milk, right? Nearly all sell 100% certified organic and hormone free milk in the glass bottle, along with the normal stuff. You can even get lactose free milk. This is what happens when we allow the free market to work. There is at least 10 different brands of milk products (not including sub-varieties from each brand… and including 100% organic), in the local 24 convience store chain down the block.

    On the other hand, try getting unpasterized milk! Oh yeah, it is illegal, because some idiots thought they were operate on the Precautionary Principle when it comes to milk. Don’t worry that people had been eating raw milk for thousands of years with out it causing a health crisis, long before pasturization.

  46. Number 6,

    My vaguely informed understanding as a biologist who doesn’t work in this specific area is that we don’t know enough about the biology of cloned animals yet to know if/how they’re different at the chemical/cellular level. I don’t think there’s really a good a priori reason to expect any significant differences, but there were unexpected differences with Dolly*, and it’s possible that there would be some here.

    *Differences with Dolly that affected her health; no reason I’m aware of to think they would affect the health of someone who ate her.

  47. And let me decide for myself.

    Here is my impression of RCD after they require labelling of cloned products:

    RCD walks into store and heads to dairy case. He thinks to himself, “I could go for a delicious drink of milk.” He looks at the milks. Brand X milk says “CLONED” in big red letters on the side of the jug. Further inspection by RCD reveals a price tag marked $2.59. RCD carefully replaces the jug in his grocer’s refrigeration unit.

    RCD then picks out a jug of Brand Y milk. Turning the jug over in his hands, he notes a product label that says: “No cloned animals were used in making this product. Make no mistake, we shoot our animals up, but good, with antibiotics, but no clones. Not us. Clones are for suckers.” RCD scowls at this. Thru eyes partially shut, in disgust, he notices that the price tag says $4.59. To the extent that he had at all been considering Brand Y, he drops that thought and re-takes the jug of Brand X.

    “I wonder what cloned milk tastes like,” thinks RCD as he heads for the cash register, one hand clutching the hollow plastic handle of the Brand X milk, the other reaching for his wallet in his back pocket. In the checkout line, a gorgeous woman queues behind him. It is difficult not to notice her because she is so young, and firm, and her clothes so revealing of skin, and shape. RCD has to consciously looking at the woman’s chest and ends up looking at the Brand X milk intently. He briefly notes that this is a very mamarian moment, or perhaps moo-ment, and chuckles inwardly.

    because there is an old person in line ahead of RCD and the woman, things are taking forever. isn’t that always the way when all you want is a nice cold mouthful of milk on a hot summer day. Fortunately, the market has the AC going full blast. One nice thing about shopping near SMU — they think of the customers there. RCD sneaks some sidelong glances at the woman behind him. He notices that she seems to be looking at him. But, why?

    When his turn comes, RCD pays for the milk with a very impressive looking credit card. They paid a lot of money to some designer to ensure that that credit card looked in such a way that you know not just anyone could get one. RCD did not notice the woman behind him looking at the credit card. he was busy making sure they did not add sales tax on the Brand X milk. They try to pull that sometimes.

    Outside RCD ducked into the parking area and pulled the frangible band from around the rim of the lid on his Brand X milk. Deftly he unscrewed the cap, and hungrily he raised the gallon sized jug to his lips. the milk was nice and cold, like a hockey rink in his throat. he took a second long drink, standing in the sun, wiped his lips, replaced the cap on the Brand X milk and put it back into the plastic bag. the bag made it easier to carry the milk out to his car, and also helped prevent condensation from wetting the inside of his car too much. It was a good bag. Useful.

    Just as he was opening his car door, he felt a tap on his back. His mind instantly turned to the gun in his glovebox, but then he remembered that he was near SMU. he turned and saw the yound lady from the store. breaking into a grin, he asked, “Can I help you, m’am?”

    The young lady explained that she had noticed his Brand X milk, with the big “CLONED” label, in the store. In fact, she had even seen him resheathing the partially drunk milk in the lot. As it turned out, this lady had never seen anybody drink cloned milk and thought that that was exceptionally brave and masculine. Like the war. All this bravery made the young lady want to do coitus. With RCD. Long story short: he ended up obliging her and it was wonderful. Probably the best sex of his life.

    After he dropped the lady off at her condo building in Oak Lawn, he pulled the bag of Brand X milk up by its bag handle from the floorboards of the backseat of his car. he realized that milk had been sitting in his hot car so long that it was certainly spoiled. Somehow, that did not bother him. He resolved to always get delicious Brand X cloned milk in the future, and to assiduously avoid the more expensive and inferior non-cloned Brand Y.

    At this point he realized that he had to get home, with all due haste. He had to get on the Internet. He had to thank that guy, Dave W., at Hit and Run. Why, if it was not for people like him, then cloned milk might not be labelled so prominently, and picking out his preferred variety of milk would not be so easy. Oh, and that lady wouldn’t have noticed his bravery and responded. “Thank you, Dave W.,” he thought, reaching down and upshifting, “your crazy brand of libertaranism turns out to be best of all!”

    THE END?

  48. On cloned food vs. pharmaceuticals:

    The thing with pharmaceuticals is that they are (usually) taken for a defined period in response to a specific ailment or group of ailments. Proving safety for that limited exposure for a population sharing at least a few characteristics in common (the same illness) is not necessary easy, but at least it’s the sort of thing that can be done in a period of several years with a fairly small sample.

    Proving that food is safe, however, you have to consider that a food will be eaten on a regular basis for years, even decades. There’s really only one way to rule out this cumulative exposure increasing small risks of some long-term illness: The hard way, i.e. lots of people eat it for decades and you see what happens.

    In regard to peanuts: The thing with peanut allergies is that the sufferers have no choice but to adopt a paranoid mindset. A lot of foods have peanut oil, and some baked goods have small amounts of other peanut products that might not be apparent to the buyer. So even if one kept out peanut butter sandwiches and whatnot, kids could still bring peanut products to school without realizing it, unless their parents are really careful about labels.

    Because of this, a peanut allergy sufferer (or at least a person with severe allergies) must be constantly vigilant and assume that any uninspected food has peanuts, despite the best intentions of a person trying to obey a ban on peanuts.

    So I’m not sure that a peanut ban in schools would really change the way that a peanut allergy sufferer must live. It’s sort of like gun safety: The only real safety is in your mind and your habits. Everything else is secondary.

  49. To clarify my comment about “cloned animals” and as a response to Kwix’s comment about various fruits and veggies, I’m not talking about naturally clonally reproducing organisms or vegetatively propagated plants; I’m talking about artificially induced clones. There’s reason to think they may be different, if only because of the “unnatural” stresses placed on the organism in artificial cloning. I don’t think we know enough at this point to say for sure that a cow embryo undergoing cell nuclear replacement or something like that is equivalent to grafting trees or vegetatively propagating bulbs.

  50. I’m waiting for cloned filet that comes without any impact on cholesterol levels.

  51. Sparky- Thank you.

  52. I bet all you dopertarians smoke cloned “kind-bud”. Of course the natural “wacky-tobacky”
    is so freakin’ dangerous-what with its gateway staus, cancer risk and amotivational syndrome- the cloned variety couldn’t be much worse.

  53. Pat Conroy in his story about his years at VMI, “The Boo”, mentions a case where a plebe with a tomato allergy was forced by a senior classman to drink several glasses of tomato juice. The senior classman had full knowledge of the allergy.

    “Forced” in the sense they held him down and poured tomato juice in his mouth, or “forced” in the sense they said, “Drink this juice, pledge”?

    If the latter, either a valuable lesson to the guy or evolution in action (depending on whether he survived).

  54. 1/2 a bee:

    oh – I get it! He had the opportunity to stand up to the peer pressure, is that it?

    Okay. cool!

    thanks!

  55. Eric the .5b

    While not forced in the sense of being held down, the consequences of a plebe refusing to obey an upper classman’s order could be horrible. [We’re talking the 1960s.] At the very least, the upper classmen would band together as a unit to make the plebe’s days a living hell. A “BJ* plebe” would be mercilessly shown the error of his ways.

    *every reading I’ve done on military academies translates this as “by Jesus”, but I’ve always considered that to have been sanitized.

  56. VM: I took it as being a case of a pre-frat boy trying to get into a frat. Anything that sort of person inflicts on himself without being forced, he deserves.

    Aresen suggest that it’s rather different in this case though, and I see his point.

  57. There is nothing to fear from cloning.

  58. There is nothing to fear from cloning.

  59. There is nothing to fear from cloning.

  60. What they said.

  61. “That is, it has been adopted despite never having satisfied its own criteria for adoption.”

    Or maybe it was cloned

  62. I bet ya a twenty dollar food coupon that the first human cloned will be a athletic jigaboo or a nappy headed ho thats good at the monkeyball. Gotta make the money ya know. Cause the christian supremacists wont let the government pay for clone research.

  63. Now, if, say, all the milk is labelled as “CLONED,” then shoppers will hunt out smaller stores that sell non-cloned milk.

    You can’t clone milk. Milk ain’t ‘live.

  64. 1/2 a bee:

    nice image! That would be a lame ass frat!

    I still like it!

    Imus: naughty – you took it too far

  65. Shorter Dave W.:

    RCD walks into store and heads to dairy case. He thinks to himself, “I could go for a delicious drink of milk.” He looks at the milks. Brand X milk says “CLONED” in big red letters on the side of the jug. “Whatever,” thinks RCD.

    Further inspection by RCD reveals a price tag marked $2.59. “Awesome,” thinks RCD, and heads for the checkout.

  66. Sorry that I am so late to the party. I imagine few people will even read this post. However, for those still stopping by to browse:

    Cloned means that it bypassed the process of fertilizing the egg with sperm another animal which produces a unique DNA set. Cloning produces an identical (or nearly identical) DNA set. Many plants and some animals can and do reproduce in nature by cloning. Some animals can, in fact, switch back and forth depending on environmental pressures.

    Natural cloning is common in stable environments where biological diversity does not provide a substantial benefit. However, cloned population are susceptible to massive die-off if a new microbe infects the population.

    Cloning in no way changes the “normal” DNA set of the cloned plant/animal. I think many poorly informed people confuse cloning with genetic modification where new gene sequences are inserted into a plant or animal.

    While I believe that GM is every bit a safe as any other form of human-forced selection of genetic characteristics (i.e., selective breeding), I do recognize that mutation after multiple generations represents a risk that must be monitored.

    So in short cloning is no problem. GM is not likely to be a problem, but close monitoring is required.

  67. I have no problem with a labeling requirement. The reason for this is that cloning is currently a very inexact science. For example, for Dolly, 277 eggs created 29 embryos which created 3 lambs and only one lived. What does that tell me? There were a lot of fuck ups in the process. It’s not like chemical reaction where once you get add A to B in environment C under conditions D and it always works out. Someday we’ll get to the level of sophistication where the process has been essentially perfected, but judging by current failure rates, all clones aren’t normal, healthy versions of the cloned animal.

  68. “For Ms. Fischer and those like her, there’s a simple solution that doesn’t involve a ban.”

    Yes- buy a fucking farm, and go out and milk your own personal cows every morning and evening. And while you’re waiting for it to be milking time again, you can weed the pea patch.

  69. Howdy, carrick,

    “Cloning in no way changes the “normal” DNA set of the cloned plant/animal.”

    This is largely true (although see the debate about Dolly’s shortened telomeres and what role they may have had in her early demise; I haven’t followed it closely enough to know what the current consensus is, if there is one), but it isn’t the only possible source of abnormality. I’m going to get pretty speculative here, and I don’t know enough about the field to know how seriously this scenario is discussed, but here goes:

    The process of artificial cloning undoubtedly causes changes in gene expression in response to the stresses involved in, for example, cell nuclear replacement, which is a much greater insult to the cell than occurs in any natural clonal reproduction. The increased/decreased levels of certain proteins may result in the accumulation of some metabolic byproducts or other chemicals that are harmful, either to the animal itself or (much less likely) to the person eating it.
    I think this scenario is within the realm of possibility but as far as I know there’s no hard evidence for it. That’s why I think the risk of eating clone beef, drinking clone milk, etc. is real but extremely small, and doesn’t justify much in the way of prohibition or even labeling (my guess is that considerably more risky products/chemicals are introduced into the food supply all the time with no fanfare). But like I said my expertise is very tangential to this area, so take this for what little it’s worth.

    I also think (more generally – not a direct response to your post) that it’s unfortunate that so many people equate artificial cloning with naturally clonal species and vegetative propagation, and that they equate GM with selective breeding. In each comparison the two methods share many similarities, but they are most definitely not the same. The differences are potentially important and shouldn’t be glossed over.

  70. ‘Nilbog’! It’s ‘goblin’ spelled backwards! THIS IS THEIR KINGDOM!!

  71. There may be some great reasons for fearing cloned food (I haven’t heard any), but I suspect that in general the fear among people is generating by something like this: “Clone is like drone, so clones are drones. But as everyone knows, a drone is just a type of zombie. But zombies aren’t even really alive–they are undead. They are really just a moving corpse. Do you want to drink milk from a corpse? I didn’t think so.”

  72. GM is not likely to be a problem, but close monitoring is required.

    If something does go wrong, who pays, carrick? Does it matter?

  73. Oh, and to sparky’s excellent response, I would add that there is a concern that cloning would allow and facilitate more drastic GM changes over shorter time frames.

    Sometimes people act like GM is some kind of monolithic thing: all safe or all dangerous. The better way to look at it is that every tweak is a (perhaps small) marginal, probabilistic risk of a (perhaps gigantic) harm.

    In other words, the concern about cloning is that it will cause these probabilistic risks to aggregate much faster.

  74. We need to separate the discussion of whether “cloned” products are inherently risky versus whether existing/emerging technologies for cloning products can introduce defects which are risky.

    Dolley’s problems where the result of an imperfect cloning process (nothing ever works right the first time). I assume that cloned products won’t be commercially viable until such time as the process is far less imperfect. Given that, I don’t see any significant risk to the consumption of cloned animals themselves or their products (e.g., their milk).

  75. Funny how the guys who tell you there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to terrorist attacks, as a means of relegating U.S. military operations they don’t like to the “loss category” yet they get all weak in the knees with horror when they see a carton of milk.

    Meh. I think I’ve gone completely off the rails.

    Maybe I’m conflating certain vegan anti-cloning types with certain anti-war types, but it’s kinda hard not to some days…

    http://www.veganoutreach.org/search.html?Search=anti-war

  76. Funny how the guys who tell you there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to terrorist attacks, as a means of relegating U.S. military operations they don’t like to the “loss category” yet they get all weak in the knees with horror when they see a carton of milk.

    That reminds me of the David Cross “seven pudding cups” bit.

  77. I want the fear mongers to prove to me that organic food will never cause harm.

    oh, and “corporatarian”
    Drink!

  78. I want the fear mongers to prove to me that organic food will never cause harm.

    Now if you were asking for something truly reciprocal, like a requirement that organic food be labelled as such, I bet the “fear mongers” would happily oblige. Why so greedy?

  79. I want the fear mongers to prove to me that organic food will never cause harm.

    Damn god point, Ironchef. Damn good point.

    And when the Ironchef opines on food, the debate is over. Allez cuisine!

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