The Food and Drug Administration says meat and milk from most cloned animals is safe to eat. But the agency won't lift a voluntary moratorium on the sale of any products from cloned livestock for at least three months.
For more than three years, the FDA has been saying that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe to eat. Today they finally backed this up with a thousand-page draft risk assessment, introduced at a telephone news conference.
Steven Sundloff, who heads the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said they have looked at more than 100 studies of cattle, pigs and goats, and see nothing to suggest any risk to human health.
Clones may sound creepy, but they can be seen as being essentially identical twins of other animals — simply born later.
The process isn't without risk for the animals. Cloned animals are more likely to be born with problems. But Dr. Sundloff says those problems are the same sort found in livestock born with the help of commonly used technologies, such as in vitro fertilization.
And debilitated animals don't go into the food supply, cloned or not. In fact, because it costs $20,000 to produce a cloned animal, Dr. Sundloff said clones will not soon fill pastures and pig barns.
Still, it is very possible that the FDA will lift its moratorium.