The FDA’s announcement today that cloned beef and dairy is safe was met with criticism by several consumer groups, which isn’t surprising, and the US Department of Agriculture, which is—they say that food producers should continue to honor a “voluntary moratorium” for the indefinite future until consumers have time to learn to love cloned beef. [Washington Post]

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  1. Shadowfire says:

    It’s all good. I mean, if people don’t want to eat cloned meat, that’s ok.. vote with your wallet, and buy more expensive “natural” meat.

    However, the next jerk who tries to push for a ban of the stuff I’m probably going to punch in the face. Until they’re starving in a country without enough food for it’s people, they really don’t have a say on whether cloned livestock should or should not happen.

  2. DallasDMD says:

    @Shadowfire: Moralism, whee!

  3. youbastid says:

    @Shadowfire: Um, yeah. The reason people have a problem with it is because the claims of its absolute safety are dubious at best. But I guess you and your superior morals don’t have a problem with pawning off potentially harmful food to poor people.

  4. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Many things are shown dangers many years after they hit the market, like lead paint and breast implants…so I’ll stay away from this for awhile.

  5. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Also…how will this be handled by reasturants and fast food? I’d assume McDonalds would like to go the cheapest route, which would probalby be cloned meat…would they offer cloned and non-cloned meat?

  6. tinyrobot says:

    Oh good lordy. Maybe as a former genetic engineer I’m biased, but I have yet to hear the hordes of screaming hippies yield a single, rational, factually-backed reason for avoiding either GM foods (vitamin A + rice = good, folks, not frankenfood) or cloned meat/milk for health reasons. We’re not putting cadmium into beef here.

    Now if you want to condemn cloned/GM foods for ecological reasons, I’m with you there. GM crops are essentially a man-made invasive species, although I think we should consider that a high-beef-and-milk-yielding cow raised free range, cloned and mass-produced could circumvent the need for keeping weaker cows on antibiotics or using other methods proven to be more dangerous to actual human health.

  7. Shadowfire says:

    @youbastid: How is it dubious? I have never once heard a good argument for what you’re saying… all I hear is a bunch of fear-mongering bullshit from people who are scared of progress.

    Really, as I said, don’t buy it. If you don’t want to eat it, that’s fine, that’s ok! But don’t try to stop it from being made altogether until there is real science to back you up.

  8. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    So Tinyrobot…you are saying, just isolate the super strong, super heathly, super meatty cows, and clone that over and over?

    Wouldn’t that eventually lead to a whole species of super cows, big enough and strong enough to fight back?

  9. youbastid says:

    @tinyrobot: Were you a genetic engineer for Monsanto? Because it’s not the screaming hippies I’m expecting the facts from; big agribusiness has yet to yield a single, rational, factually-backed reason that GM/cloned foods are safe. “Vitamin A + Rice = Good” isn’t cutting it. It’s not like it’s as simple as taking some Vitamin A and adding it in to rice. Or pushing a button and making an exact replica of a full-sized cow.

  10. ribex says:

    When can we get past this and move along to growing meat (muscle tissue) in labs for food?

  11. Chris Walters says:

    @ribex: That is my dream—to someday see (safe) lab meat on the market. But as a test, I mention it to carnivores sometimes to gauge their reactions, and they always react badly. Very badly.

    “It’s just… there’s something about that term, ‘lab meat,'” my boyfriend said. I described the process of slaughtering a pig in great detail, then described a hypothetical vat of nutrient-fed lab “pork” meat, and he still chose the natural pig. *shrug* People have very emotional relationships to what they eat.

  12. joemono says:

    @AlteredBeast: Seriously?

  13. youbastid says:

    @AlteredBeast: Ah, fear not friend, unless of course you always dreamed of leading a pack of super strong fighting cows. I read about how buffalo farmers have been killing the “rebel” bulls before they can mate, which is thinning out the rebellious gene and creating a bunch of super strong “pussy” buffalo. Can’t see why they wouldn’t do the same with cows.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What’s so disgusting about cloned animals? Have you seen how they make the ‘natural’ ones? Messy, messy, messy!

  15. burgundyyears says:

    @youbastid: The supposition that all new products must Prove some imaginary, unattainable level of absolute safety would have us still grunting in caves, with the jury still out studying the potential benefits of the wheel and (gasp!) fire ad infinitum.

  16. vision646 says:

    @burgundyyears: I agree whole heartedly. In what way does one prove that something is 100% safe. Hell, NON-CLONED cows aren’t even 100% safe and we eat them. Mad Cow anyone? There is no (logical) reason to impede technological advances of this kind.

    But I agree with Shadowfire, if it freaks you out don’t buy it, however bans should be based on facts.

  17. youbastid says:

    @burgundyyears: Yeah, if you’re screwing with plants at the molecular level, and not preventing their unbridled spread (as the winds carry the seeds), you better damn well be able to *prove* it’s safe.
    Same thing with animals. Or do you prefer “let the multi-billion dollar global corporation do as it sees fit, and ask questions later?”

  18. youbastid says:

    @burgundyyears: Not to mention the fact that the USDA is taking the same stance as I am. That’s right, the same USDA that didn’t think it was too important to prevent all those e.Coli spreads – even THEY think there’s a reason to hold off on this.

  19. Narb copied that floppy says:

    Personally, and this is just me and my logic here, wouldn’t cloned and cheaper beef mean more people can afford to eat nutritiously and less people will die in undeveloped parts of the world.

    Talk to someone who CAN’T afford meat that’s 2 to 3 times the price of cloned meat and tell them they’re not going to eat tonight because you have ethical issues because of something as mundane as taste or religion.

    Congratulations! You just got stabbed by a hobo! Nice job.

    I like how people think “dangerous” food is worse than NO food.

  20. littlejohnny says:

    @youbastid: I can’t wait for cloned meat so I can get high quality meat for less money. If it’s a cow/pig/baby lamb that was kept in the dark it’s entire life, what’s the difference if it’s a clone??? It sounds like the anti-clone meat crowd is fearing the unknown.

  21. youbastid says:

    @Narb: See the third comment above. Where do you get the idea that it will be 2 to 3 times cheaper? Is GM corn 2 to 3 times cheaper than regular corn? Nope. Side by side, they’re the same price, and you’ll never be able to know which one you’re getting. But now, unless I buy organic, I won’t ever be able to *know* that what I’m eating isn’t some corn with a built-in genetic pesticide. See where I’m going with this? What was normally “regular priced” is now going to have a premium on it for being what it *used* to be, and what you assume is going to be 2-3x cheaper is only going to be what you’re *currently* paying. But go ahead, continue being blissfully ignorant. I’m the one killing hobos. Retard.

  22. nequam says:

    @AlteredBeast: Actually, the claims of potential harm are dubious.

  23. laserjobs says:

    So the FDA just allowed patented animals. Great for a coproration trying to monopolize the food industry. Wake up people, corporations don’t have morals so don’t treat them like they do.

  24. Falconfire says:

    @laserjobs: um huh? Seriously that post makes absolutely no sense. Why would cloning animals in any way lead to corporation monopolizing the food industry…

    Last I checked you cant put a condom on a cow, and like most animals they like to fuck…. a lot….

  25. EncephelanetRepairHelperGuy says:

    I wanna be a weather man. They said it was going to snow and it didn’t snow.

  26. EncephelanetRepairHelperGuy says:

    @Falconfire: Last u checked? Was that a traveller’s check?

  27. Rhyss says:

    The fact that the FDA aka any federal government agency can’t keep pet food, children’s toys etc. safe, concerns me. Besides didn’t you see ‘I Am Legend’

  28. Narb copied that floppy says:

    Youbastid, cloning prime animals leads to more supply, more supply leads to more competition, more competition leads to lower prices, so lo and behold, cloned beef becomes cheaper.

    faaaascinating.

  29. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @tinyrobot: That’s a good point, about genetically healthier cows potentially needing fewer invasive drug treatments.

    Until I know for sure, though, I’m going to stick with Soylent products. A new shipment of Red just came through.

  30. youbastid says:

    @Narb: What a basic and oversimplified way of looking at things. Remember “Clearing forest space in the amazon for cows to graze allows more cows to be produced which leads to more supply, which leads to more competition, which means lower prices”? Know why that didn’t work? Because the demand met up with the supply, and all we got was meat that had shit in it.

    Faaaaascinating.

  31. ShadowFalls says:

    I think the issue is burden of proof. FDA does not do foresight, it does not think or test the long term, rather the short term. If you can not notice any short term effects, it seems ok to them.

    For example, it is really hard to know the effect it could have on a child being raised on the stuff. For all we know, it could cause some incurable illness, or perhaps become one that is contagious and wipes out most of humanity.

    Is it bad to think ahead instead of waiting for something bad to happen to do something about it? Sure it may seem cost efficient now, wait until you have to clean it up.

    The fact remains, at this time, there is nothing to say it is bad. That could change, then again, it might not. Time will tell whether this is a good thing or a horrible mistake.

  32. EncephelanetRepairHelperGuy says:

    @youbastid: If we had a digital spectrometer series of utilities, it’d be a hell of a lot clearer in terms of recognition (and no, I’m not talking about laser anhialation (sp?) systems)

  33. Candyman says:

    @youbastid:
    Why are you not worried about other crops escaping into the wild? Because these are domesticated crops, which require artificial cultivation, right? Same with GM crops. In fact, most of them are engineered to be sterile so that the farmers can’t produce their own seeds without buying them from agri-businesses. Just like non-gm high yield grains are.

    And as to the USDA’s reccomendation, it’s based on marketing concerns, not safety. The issue for the USDA is whether the consumers wikll accept it, not whether it’s safe.

    Really, everyone, GM crops and cloned livestock are just as safe as all the selectively bred varieties.

  34. newspapersaredead says:

    Clearly label any food that is from cloned animals and let people make their own decision on whether to eat it or not.

  35. Candyman says:

    @ShadowFalls:
    So, even though there’s no actual evidence of any possible harm, you think it’s better to pass up all the possible benefits “just in case”?

    The problem with that reasoning is that by that logic no innovation could possibly progress. Cell phones would never have been permitted because who can possibly know what effect they might have in a gheneration or more unless they actually test them for a generation or more. See what I’m saying?

    As you say, at this time, there is nothing to say it’s bad. IF evidence later turns up, we can act on that basis to refine and improve the technology. But if we just ban it altogether, all the possibilities are lost. We will have abandoned the best chance we’ve had yet to solve world hunger, which is a HUGE step towards ending poverty.

    Pop quiz: What man has saved more lives worldwide than anyone else in history? Norman Ernest Borlaug, the inventor of the fast growing, high yield, high protein content wheat/rye hybrid triticale. He saved uncountable millions of people over the past few decades, who didn’t starve to death due to his crop. Now, will you damn luddites get the hell out of the way while scientists take it to the next step?

  36. iamme99 says:

    People will eat ANYTHING when they are hungry enough. Ever watch “Man vs. Wild”?

    I don’t see what the problem could be with cloned animals and I’ve never come across any good explanations of what the problem may be. I think this is all just fear of something different or unknown (like the fear of a terrorist around every corner that was planted in so many minds in 2004, leading to 4 more years of GWB’s wonderful leadership).

  37. youbastid says:

    @iamme99: Na, it’s not that I fear the unknown. I just don’t think it’s wise to plunge headfirst into something like this without asking questions, and without them being answered. I’m never fine with just being told “Everything’s fine. It’s safe! Cause we said so.”

  38. marsneedsrabbits says:

    So… Bossy is a prize-winning cow, and she’s fine to eat and no one complains that she’s dangerous or bad.

    But take her cells and make a copy of her, and all of a sudden she may as well have been radioactive?

    I don’t think so.

  39. ShadowFalls says:

    @Candyman:

    Apparently you only read what you wanted to read and interpreted it how you chose to.

    Did I say anything about banning anything? There is obviously no surefire way to handle any given situation.

    One could say, “If a problem comes down the line, we will deal with it.” Now what if a problem does come down the line, and by the time they get to deal with it, it has already been too late?

    You can look at another view as well. If cloning is not done now, then a critical point is going to be lost and it would be too late to do anything about it. Then it would be late for cloning to make a difference.

    Will cloning like this lead to a solution for world hunger? Certainly not. The countries who need the food the most lack the money or technology to implement anything like this at all.

    Simply said, unless we can make cows pop out the middle of thin air like something out of Star Trek…. They still have to be raised and this requires food in any end result. It really isn’t a solution for the ones who could use the most benefit.

    The biggest requirement with cloned meat is the need to clone the best. Obviously if they choose the wrong cow who just happens to have mad cow disease and by the time we find out it is too late, many people will suffer and so will the economy.

    The is also the possibility of issues regarding cloning clones. How far down the line can it be a start to be come a problem? This is something that can be tested immediately. You could also put a plan together in case of such a possibility.

    Just remember, if cloning clones becomes a problem, and all that is in circulation are clones, there is no fresh breed to work with and by that time it is too late. I sure do hope someone has the foresight to clone more than just a handful of specimens :)

    It is not a matter of fear, it is simply a matter of thinking everything through. With all the food contamination problems of late, people just don’t want any more problems. When something does go wrong, the people end up having to pay for it, one way or another.

    If cloning was ever to be a severe problem when it comes to the human food supply, I doubt it would be within any of our life times.

  40. czarandy says:

    Why can’t we just allow cloned meat, but require it to be labeled?

    Then whoever wants to can choose to buy it, but no one is forced to do so. Until there is evidence that it has any more harm than regular meat this is the most prudent solution.

  41. giggitygoo says:

    I’m not sure what’s driving people that want to ban this. According to the article, cloned animals have been studied for years by the FDA and academia. (The researcher from UConn’s quote that there’s more data about cloned animals than regular ones is interesting in particular) There were no appreciable differences in cloned animals vs. regular ones once they hit a few weeks old; and animals that were fed meat/milk from clones cows were just as healthy as ones fed normally. This seems like it could be a great advance for food production and that there is no reason to stop it.

    Some people just look so hard for hidden dangers that everything new becomes dangerous. I think that any radical changes in food production need to go through thorough testing, but if that testing leads scientists to conclude that there is no danger – why hold it up? If nothing else, treat this like a new drug and do some human testing. (Volunteers, of course)

    Seems like irrational fears holding progress back, just like GM foods – which have repeatedly been proven safe but are rejected for no logical reason.

  42. guymandude says:

    So why is it that whenever the subject of global warming comes up the tree huggers are right there with their bibliographies quoting the latest scientific research but when it comes to genetic engineering all of a sudden those scientists don’t know squat? Can 1 of you tree huggers out there explain that to me?

  43. guymandude says:

    @youbastid: I’m laughing hysterically at your comment “I only buy organic”. And what makes you think “organic” food is any safer than “regular” food? Ever heard of brominated diphenyl ether? DDT is organic…. Dioxin is organic. Go learn some chemistry.

  44. Red_Eye says:

    @Shadowfire: WTF a cloned cow takes as long to grow as a mated cow so WTF is the difference?

  45. hornrimsylvia says:

    My problem with cloned livestock is the hold that corporations already have on family farmers, and the extra hold this gives the corporations in strangling the little guy out. My dad used to be a hog farmer. He ran a one-man operation, he breed his own stock, and raised them for market. Then packing plants started cracking down on variables. They’d dock him if the animal was to heavy for its size. It wasn’t because the company wanted leaner meat, although that was good advertising. It was because they had purchased machines with a very low tolerance for variation.

    Now the companies are becoming even more vertically integrated. They don’t want you breeding your own animals, they want to control every aspect of production, and breed out all of the variables. (I don’t know how long it has been since I’ve seen a red hog!) Clones will enable them to do that. You aren’t raising a clone on a computerized feeding system that guarantees a certain size of animal for perfect processing at triple cut-throat speed, you no longer a player despite your efficiency and willingness not to break the law. You’re a little guy shut out of the market, stuck butchering by hand in the winter to people in the community for “donations”, ie. the price of butchering paper. This is exactly what the corporations want. Clones should be labeled, not for GM reasons, but so there is another thing to be outraged about at the supermarket when we see all of these cloned meats that are grown 3 states away in a confinement that doesn’t have to comply with EPA standards, both raised and butchered by underpaid and abused illegal aliens, and injected with its weight in water.

  46. IrisMR says:

    My only problem with cloned beasts is that I see plenty non-cloned meat in the fridges at the grocery at a very normal price. So why would we need to clone them?

  47. ancientsociety says:

    Every pro-bioengineering commentor here needs to answer one question:

    If genetic engineering is SO safe, has no multigenerational impact, and is better than current methods – how come agribusiness refuses to label GM products as such (in fact, are so set against it that they fight it tooth-and-nail everytime the USDA or FDA suggests it)?

  48. Candyman says:

    @ShadowFalls:
    You’re right, I’m sorry for that. Ironically, I just yesterday chided someone else for doing the same thing to me. ;-) But since we are discussing the merits of the FDA’s decision to lift it’s ban on cloned meat, can you see how I assumed you were in favor of a ban?

    In fact, if you’re not supporting a ban, then I’m kinda unsure what your point is? You seem to be saying that we don’t know enough to lift the ban, but if you don’t want it banned, and you don’t want the ban lifted, just what do you advocate?

    You said: “Will cloning like this lead to a solution for world hunger? Certainly not. The countries who need the food the most lack the money or technology to implement anything like this at all.”

    Well, they may not have the money or technology for direct cloning of their livestock, but they can buy fertalized ovum. And of course, there would be lots of international aid for this, just like when triticale was introduced in India and Africa.

    Then there’s the trickle down effect via exports. If developed countries have more meat to export, prices go down.

    But the long term effects will of course be much more dramatic. The idea is to produce livestock that are healthier, more resistant to disease, mature faster, and produce more meat for less feed. This is nothing new, we’ve been selectively breeding animals for those traits since the dawn of agriculture. But cloning will allow the best animals to spread their genes farther and faster than any one stud could, accelerating the process.

    You said: “The biggest requirement with cloned meat is the need to clone the best. Obviously if they choose the wrong cow who just happens to have mad cow disease and by the time we find out it is too late, many people will suffer and so will the economy.”

    Dude, dude, dude. (Shakes head.) Mad Cow is an acquired disease. It’s not genetic. The only risk of transmitting a disease from parent to child would be through contact during gestation and delivery, same as with a naturally concieved animal. And in any case, any animal which is cloned would obviously be given a more through check up than the animal that’s heading towards your plate.

    As for “cloning clones” that is and has been part of the ongoing research. Would cloning a clone degrade the genetic material, and in how many generations. But it’s just a theoretical question not a practical one anyway, since cl;oning clones isn’t the idea. The idea is to clone good breeding stock and breed them to other animals. Clone a good bull, and you can impregnate twice as many cows. So, yes, we need an answer to that, but for it’s scientific value, not because of a danger to our food supply.

    You said: “Just remember, if cloning clones becomes a problem, and all that is in circulation are clones, there is no fresh breed to work with and by that time it is too late. I sure do hope someone has the foresight to clone more than just a handful of specimens :)”

    I really don’t want to be insulting or patronising, but the more you say, the more you show your total ignorance on this issue. Replacing natural breeding with cloning outright, whether from a handful or hundreds of specimins is as absurd an idea as popping them out star trek style, like you mentioned. This is why people are afraid of cloned foods and GM crops, because they conjure up sci-fi notions like that. And any number of activist groups prey on that fear. Same as nuclear power.

    You said: “It is not a matter of fear, it is simply a matter of thinking everything through.” Sorry, but you are including imaginary sci-fi scenarios when you are thinking it through, and that smacks of fear of the unknown.

    This isn’t global warming, evolution, or any big complicated issue like that. It’s not even a difficult problem to test. It’s meat, whether cloned, sired by a clone, or naturally conceived, it’s all meat. And we know how to test meat cellularly, chemically, and genetically. It’s not even genetically modified, for pete’s sake! It’s as safe as any other meat (although you can ask a vegan about that ;-)), and has amazing potential for the future. Don’t fear the future, man. :-)

  49. ancientsociety says:

    @giggitygoo: “I think that any radical changes in food production need to go through thorough testing, but if that testing leads scientists to conclude that there is no danger – why hold it up? If nothing else, treat this like a new drug and do some human testing”

    You need to realize that there has NEVER been an independent, impartial scientific test done by the FDA re: GM foods. Read a Risk Assessment, all their raw data comes from the companies who are doing the cloning and have the most to gain is it’s approved for consumption. Even then, there have been no long-term multigenerational tests done re: GM foods and crops affect on the environment or animal health.

    @czarandy: “Why can’t we just allow cloned meat, but require it to be labeled?”

    Because the agribusiness corporations fought against mandatory labeling.

    @Narb: GM foods have always been announced as being cheaper. Did the widespread use of GM corn and soybeans make your grocery bill cheaper in the past 5 years?

    Didn’t think so….

  50. Candyman says:

    @ancientsociety: Because you can’t ignore the public’s fear, even though the fear is irrational, and baseless, that’s why. Label it and people WILL avoid it. A lot of them at least. Labelling it could doom it. And they kinda want it to succeed.

    Another reason is simply the logistics of it. How do you expect them to track individual animals all through slaughtering and packing? And since most clones will be breeding stock, we’re really talking about their ancestry, so how many generations back have to be declared?

    Then there’s the general principal of limiting regulations and governmental interferance. Pretty much every industry fights new regulations on that principal alone, let alone when there are other issues as well.

  51. Candyman says:

    @ancientsociety:

    You seem to be conflating cloned animals with gentically modified crops. At this point, the FDA’s deciding only on allowing cloned animals into the marketplace, not GM livestock. I don’t think they have those yet. :-)

    As to corn prices not dropping dramatically in the past five years, for one thing haven’t you noticed the rising oil and gas prices? Or heard about the extra demand for corn and soybeans for bio fuel? Both of those have pushed prices UP, nullifying any possible price drops. And for another thing, as a net exporter of food, we’re already over supplied for our market, so increased supply doesn’t have as dramatic an effect on domestic prices.

    But personally, I’m not worried about prices here at home, anyway. I’m worried about the majority of the world who DO have a food supply problem.

  52. ShadowFalls says:

    @Candyman:

    Yup. still reading things and interpreting them exactly how you want to, not how they are. You call me ignorant and end up displaying your own.

  53. ancientsociety says:

    @Candyman:

    Cloning animals is somehow NOT genetic modification?

    “Because you can’t ignore the public’s fear, even though the fear is irrational, and baseless, that’s why. Label it and people WILL avoid it…Then there’s the general principal of limiting regulations and governmental interferance.”

    So customers should not have all the information available because they’re dumb and afraid or because it’s “gov’t intervention”? This is the same specious reasoning that comapnies use when confronted with disclosure of manufactuing processes or ingredients that can hurt the consumer (lead paint in toys, anyone?). I think perhaps you miss the point of “THE CONSUMERIST”.

    “Another reason is simply the logistics of it. How do you expect them to track individual animals all through slaughtering and packing? And since most clones will be breeding stock, we’re really talking about their ancestry, so how many generations back have to be declared?”

    This is EXACTLY the problem with modern industrial agriculture. There is NO way to track the food supply. It’s precisely the reason why, in the past few years, contaminants which make it into the food supply have been able to spread quickly and have been difficult to track. Doesn’t that give anyone pause? Shouldn’t that be a concern that you have NO idea where your food coame from or what it may have in it?

  54. rhombopteryx says:

    @czarandy:

    The answer to your question of “why doesn’t labeling just solve this?” is pretty simple – the harm may damage more than just the purchaser reading the label. Genetic modification (and some but not all cloning also involves genetic modifications) can be dangerous to the animal, the animal’s species, or the greater environment.
    Labeling coal with “mined in China with no worker protections” helps inform a consumer, but it still has negative impacts on said miner. Labelling doesn’t cure the underlying problem, even though it may help.

  55. youbastid says:

    @guymandude: Hey “guymandude,” can you tell me where in my comment it says I only buy organic? Cause I don’t only buy organic, and I didn’t say that…go learn how to read.

    And DDT is not organic. Wha?

  56. rhombopteryx says:

    @Falconfire:
    Patented animals aren’t the same as cloned animals, so the post was kinda off-topic, but I can guarantee you that every step up to and including the offspring of these clonings are probably patented up the wazoo. What makes you think a patent on an animal doesn’t give you a patent on all that animal’s offspring too? Who cares how promiscuous the bull is? If anything, that’s better for the patent-holder – they can sue anyone who buys the calves too. Multiple courts have already ruled that farmers planting second or third generation crops from patented soybeans have to pay the patent owner, and the Supreme Court just upheld one of those cases earlier this month, even. I don’t think that’d change because its a cow and not a soybean.

  57. mbprice says:

    @youbastid: There have been independent tests done on GM food. Do a search on PubMed. There are hundreds of articles out there.

    It’s your brand of anti-scientific zealotry that allows waves of paranoia like the vaccines-cause-autism stupidity.

  58. rhombopteryx says:

    @tinyrobot:

    What’s this? Rationality? On consumerist?

    Feeding (and nutrienting) people is good for their life expectancies, and healthy cows are usually better for the planet and the humans that eat them than sick and subsequently drugged-up normal cows, and genetic modifications that make these things happen maybe even in some cases be “more good” than some envirnomental damage that might result even.
    But to all the “where’s the problem, there’s no problem” people, tinyrobot is also right that some of these genetic modifications (which strictly speaking, refers to genetic modifications, not the clones that this article is about) can really screw up the animals, plants, and their environment. Introducing pesticide resistance to a commercial plant that then spreads it to the weeds it grows with results in “superweeds.” Doh! Genetic modifications do already have actual, not hypothetical bad side effects in some (maybe many) cases.

  59. youbastid says:

    @mbprice: “Anti-scientific zealotry”? I don’t think anything I said was anti-scientific. To make a point, I’m completely for stem cell research in all it’s varieties. I am, however more about questioning the motives of giant corporations that seem to REALLY care about getting this stuff out there without doing much to ensure the safety of the public.

    For some reason, I don’t think the health and well being of every living creature is what they’re setting out to do. And I question where this will take us ultimately. Calling me afraid of science is like calling someone who doesn’t like Barack Obama a racist.

  60. MarrowHawk says:

    @youbastid: He was referring to the chemistry definition of “organic”, which is different from the one you used. I suspect he did so deliberately, not ignorantly. In any event, what he was referencing was how chemistry defines an organic compound to be any compound consisting mainly of a hydrocarbon chain. The simplest organic compound is then methane, aka natural gas. In that sense, DDT is an organic compound, as are, among others, gasoline and antifreeze.
    His deliberate use of a different definition would likely be due to sharing an annoyance of mine, that is the redefining of certain terms to imply that scientific progress is inherently bad.

  61. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    If they can’t even keep feces out of the meat, how am I supposed to believe that they can mass clone their livestock without screwing it up?

    I also don’t see how this is going to make meat cheaper. How is cloning cheaper than just letting the animals go at it? We’re going to kill and eat them, can’t we at least let them get a little action?

    Label the cloned meat.

  62. lovelygirl says:

    I agree that the cloned meat should be labeled. People will still buy it anyway, if it’s cheaper than regular meat, and those people who like living on the edge. Why not label it so those of us who feel that it’s morally and ethically wrong don’t have to be confused about what meat to buy?? I don’t trust the FDA. The FDA DOES NOT CARE about the American people. They’re courted to by so many special-interests groups, it’s impossible for them to put us first. For goodness sakes, the FDA is doing a terrible job with food contamination and all that e.coli stuff, how can you trust them to make sure that cloned meat is safe?! The sooner everyone wakes up to the fact that the FDA couldn’t care less about our safety, the better.

  63. Candyman says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    Really? Then refute my points.

  64. Candyman says:

    @ancientsociety: “Cloning animals is somehow NOT genetic modification?”
    That’s right. Cloning is genetic duplication, not modification. That’s the entire point, to duplicate it WITHOUT modification. GM crops have genetic modifications intended to produce new or improved qualities; cloning OTOH seeks to duplicate animals so their existing traits can be passed to others.

    “I think perhaps you miss the point of “THE CONSUMERIST”. I miss the point of a warning label which warns of a NON-danger. Would you also advocate a hazardous substance warning label on CF bulbs? A cloned meat label would be just as stupid.

    “Doesn’t that give anyone pause? Shouldn’t that be a concern that you have NO idea where your food coame from or what it may have in it?” That’s a seperate issue from whether cloning meat animals is safe, but yeah I would like more inspectors, too bad no one wants to pay the taxes for that. No, though, I don’t care if they track individual animals, tracking lots is good enough for quality and disease control, tracking individuals would be wasteful.

  65. ShadowFalls says:

    @Candyman:

    You are somehow under the impression that I thought what you said didn’t have logic to it, or that for some reason I have to take a side, one or the other.

    Since there is not likelly to be a 100% success rate, I wonder what rate of mutations will develop, how long before they are identified, and what steps will be taken to improve the process. We all know mistakes can happen and do, one can not really predict how hazardous they could be.

    There is a saying, like this and many other things, “Time reveals all”.

  66. tinyrobot says:

    @youbastid: Right off the bat, no, I never worked for anything even remotely close to Monsanto; I was working on finding/exploiting weaknesses in multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas strains to extend the lives of people with Cystic Fibrosis and colonized indwelling prosthetics, thank you very much.

    Back to our beefy subject now – as a consumer, citizen and scientist, I feel comfortable consuming cloned meat for the simple reason that this ain’t processed food; this is living tissue. Why this matters is when you’re cooking up gross processed snacks, you can add whatever you want to the vat and we won’t know if it’s safe or not till half a million people are sick. But the cows/pigs themselves are the canaries in the coal mine in this case, and here’s why:

    Cows are mammals, and really physiologically not that different from us on the cellular level. Similar to the point where bovine-derived growth supplements/hormones are used in the lab to coax human cells into thriving in a culture dish; without these supplements, they die. Mammalian cells are by and large very similar across the board when it comes to their needs, but also when it comes to what is dangerous (cytotoxic) for their ability to continue living. If the cow looks happy, healthy, has all ten fingers and toes (KIDDING!), and only shows signs of discomfort when faced with a cleaver, then fire up the BBQ! If the animals are turning up with all sorts of gross cancers, tissue necrosis, or random unexplained deaths, then some sort of intrinsic cytotoxic effect is at hand, and we need to stay away and figure out what’s going on.

    So all that said, we need to remember that there are zero scientific reports of any cloned animal products being harmful, or even detectably different in any way to us carnivores. And most importantly, if something is off, we don’t need a lab or several decades of people consuming the product for this to come to light – the “product” here is living tissue, and if there is anything biologically off of wrong with it, that cow itself will demonstrate any ill effects of it’s cloned condition.

    One final note on Genetic Engineering – let’s all note that while more precision techniques have put custom-genomed on the market for 13 years now, humans have been carrying out genetic engineering for centuries now. Look at a toy poodle, pluots, Peppermint and many other fruit varietals – all very un-natural species that came about through humans monkeying around with hybridization and introducing extragenic DNA into a species by whatever techniques they had on hand. It’s easier to cross two plants than to get a fish to mate with a peanut, but it’s the same principle in the end – introducing alien genes into an existing species to produce an outcome we desire for some economic or other reason. GM ain’t new, we’re just getting really good at the hardest bits and REALLY lousy at the easiest ones: “pollen can be carried by the wind into non-GM crops?” (smacks head). Not that I’m an ecologist, but it still angers me how badly mismanaged GM crops have been, turning them into de facto invasive species.

  67. tinyrobot says:

    One more thing – you can make cows 100% Mad Cow-proof by altering the prion pre-protein gene (or removing it completely, I think). Makes for a fun game: would you rather eat “natural” beef that could give you a fatal, incurable prion-based disease that might not manifest for months or years following consumption, or eat the same cow that had been genetically modified to eliminate the possibility of contracting or hosting (and passing on to us) prion disease?

    There’s also a solid Wired article that talks about the real cloning advocates here – it’s not mega-corps, usually smaller farms that really like their best cow or hog:

    [www.wired.com]