Science & Technology

Cloned Meat: Surprisingly Similar to Regular Meat


cloned cows

So here's the thing about meat from cloned animals, which the FDA recently approved for sale and general consumption: It's identical to ordinary meat. That's the whole deal with cloning, see. If it's not exactly the same, then it's not a clone.

With wearying inevitability, a movement has sprung up in the wake of the FDA's decision. They demand labeling and/or bans of cloned meat and milk on the state level. Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety, offers a perfect distillation the argument. "Since FDA refuses to wait for science to show what's really happening with cloned animals, it is now up to individual states to protect consumers and their families."

She wants proof that there is no possible harm from consumption of cloned meat. It is, of course, darned tough to prove a negative like this one.

The word clone has all kinds of scary connotations, which is most of the reason for the hoopla. America has been chowing down on modified corn and soybeans for years now to no ill effect. And those products are tweaked from their natural state–clones are just duplicated, which should make them even less threatening than their genetically-modified counterparts.

There are concerns that cloned meat could infiltrate the food supply in places that are less clone-friendly, like Europe, without anyone knowing. Testing, of course, would be impossible, since cloned meat is identical to non-cloned.

And so, the inevitable question: If it's impossible to tell the difference between the meat of cloned cows and the meat of conventionally bred cows by any known means in a lab, then why should state governments force producers to make two steaks from literally identical cows bear different labels, one implying risk to the consumer?

More on cloned meat here.