Cloned Meat Info Roundup

You guys have been asking for information on cloned meat, so here you go:

The Economist: “IF YOU have ever longed for a meat substitute that smelt and tasted like the real thing, but did not involve killing an animal, then your order could be ready soon. Researchers believe it will soon be possible to grow cultured meat in quantities large enough to offer the meat industry an alternative source of supply.” (This article refers to the use of stem cell technology.) A Meaty Question Sep. 23, 2006

New Scientist: “Cloning livestock promises to bring us better food, but will anyone eat it? Cloning endangered species is an option only if the animal concerned has a closely related farmyard counterpart to supply eggs and act as a surrogate. And cloning pets is just for the sentimental with more money than biological understanding.” A sporting chance, August 27, 2005

Lots more inside.

Congressional Quarterly: “Livestock farmers and animal breeders champion cloning as a cheaper alternative to conventional breeding. The technique is no different, they argue, than any other sort of breeding — and could well result in safer food products, since it allows for greater control over disease factors in clone subjects.Consumer and food-safety advocates say the technique is anything but safe: It’s been shown to create serious genetic defects, and too little is known about other health effects for the FDA to green-light widespread animal cloning.” Critter Copies, Nov 11, 2006

Associated Press: “Cloning is the creation of an animal from the DNA of a single parent to create an offspring genetically identical to the parent.
“This seems to be one of the things where technology seems to drop something in the lap of the food companies,” Ruland said in a recent interview. “It’s not driven by the market or any benefit to the consumer.”Dairy industry treading cautiously on cloned cows July 8, 2005

CNNMoney: “The report concluded “that animal cloning is as safe as other assisted reproductive technologies,” said Dr. Stephen F. Sundlof, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.”Almost all food will come from sexually produced offspring of the animals and not from the clones,” said Sundlof.Cloned animals are used primarily for breeding which can help create stocks with increased resistance to disease or with superior meat quality, said Sundlof.” FDA gives nod to cloned meat, milk safety, Dec. 28, 2006

It seems that the main objections are moral (cloning seems “wrong” to some people.) The plus side for farmers is that they can replicate a cow after they’ve seen how it tastes. Also to take into consideration is the fact that with cloning approved, there’s really nothing to stop them (except technology) from growing meat in a vat like the Economist article says. Should vat meat need a label? It’s up to you guys. Is Soylent Green vat meat? —MEGHANN MARCO

CORRECTION: From the FDA FAQ: “FDA is not recommending any additional measures relating to food derived from adult clones and their offspring, including labeling.” Since the FDA specifies “adult” clones, we’re assuming they’re not yet ruling on the issue of cloning stem cells for vat meat. Vat meat may still be Soylent Green, however…