Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tell the FDA: "No Food From Cloned Animals"

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completed its review of food from animal clones and FDA regulators say that the agency will likely approve the sale of cloned foods this year. FDA's action flies in the face of widespread scientific concern about the risks of food from clones, and ignores the animal cruelty and troubling ethical concerns that the cloning process bring. What's worse, FDA indicates that it will not require labeling on cloned food, so consumers will have no way to avoid these experimental foods. FDA needs to hear that you don't want food from animal clones - a public comment period is open until May 2nd!


Send your comment to FDA TODAY!
Take action online at http://ga3.org/campaign/Cloning

Background
Animal cloning is a new technology with potentially severe risks for food safety. Defects in clones are common, and cloning scientists warn that even small imbalances in clones could lead to hidden food safety problems in clones' milk or meat. There are few studies on the risks of food from clones, and no long-term food safety studies have been done.

Further, the pregnancy complications in cloning cause unnecessary suffering for host mothers, and clones commonly develop with severe deformities and health problems, such as grossly oversized calves, enlarged tongues, squashed faces, intestinal blockages, immune deficiencies, diabetes, high rates of heart and lung damage, kidney failure and brain abnormalities.

Opinion polls show that the majority of Americans do not want food from animal clones and are opposed to cloning on moral or ethical grounds.

The Center for Food Safety has called on FDA to ban the use of clones in food production until the food safety and animal cruelty problems in cloning have been resolved, and until public discussions have addressed the troubling ethical issues that cloning brings. We also call on FDA, in the event that these pre-conditions can be met, to require labeling of food from animal clones.

For more information, visit the Center for Food Safety website at http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org ; .. There is also a video available at ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6OVyc_m

Sample Letter to FDA:

Submit your letter electronically at http://ga3.org/campaign/Cloning

or through the FDA comment site at FDA link: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/oc/dockets/comments/getDocketInfo.cfm?EC_DOCUMENT_ID=1369&SORT=START&MAXROWS=15&START=151&CID=&AGENCY=FDA ;

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

TO: FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach
Docket # 2003N-0573

I oppose FDA approval of food products from animal clones and their offspring. Cloning carries unknown food safety risks, increases animal cruelty, and threatens the image of U.S. dairy and meat products. Many Americans object to animal cloning on moral or ethical grounds, and there is no need for cloned foods.

FDA has a poor track record in evaluating the science of animal cloning. In 2003, the agency released a draft assessment that was widely heralded as demonstrating the safety of cloned food; yet this assessment relied on a single industry-sponsored study of cloned milk, and no data at all on meat from animal clones. The agency's latest assessment claims that no issues in food from animal clones were found, yet among the few new studies cited, several reported troubling results. Among the studies, published just this month, one found a failure rate in animal cloning of over 90%, with over 40% of "successful" clones suffering from disabling health problems leading to early death. Another found significant health differences in clones' offspring compared to normal animals. A third study found that healthy appearing clones are often physiologically different than normal animals, and concluded that food from clones should not be marketed without further research. The National Academy of Sciences has said that there is not enough data to know if the hidden defects in clones could pose food safety risks.

Furthermore, surrogate (host) cows used to produce clones are often given massive doses of hormones, and to survive their early health problems, clones are often treated with high doses of antibiotics and other veterinary drugs. Commercialization of cloning would almost certainly increase levels of veterinary hormones and antibiotics in the human food supply, but FDA has failed to address the food safety issues of this increase in medicating food animals.

Perhaps even more troubling, FDA has ignored the animal cruelty issues inherent in cloning. Surrogate cows must be used to produce clones, and these surrogates suffer from high rates of late-term spontaneous abortion, early prenatal deaths, and grossly oversized calves, and often have severe pregnancy complications and caesarian births. Cloned offspring suffer from common defects such as enlarged tongues, squashed faces, intestinal blockages, immune deficiencies and diabetes. These are not unusual side-affects, but a certain inhumane cost of animal cloning.

The FDA's current approach will allow industry to market these potentially unsafe foods, with the burden on the public to demonstrate that these foods are unsafe. But with this approach, the food safety risks of cloned animals are borne by our children and families, who will serve as the test subjects in industry's cloned food experiment.

Instead, I urge FDA to require that the food safety and animal welfare issues in animal cloning are resolved with long-term, independent and transparent testing before cloned foods are marketed. Such testing should put the burden of proof of safety on the clone developers, to protect the public from these untested, experimental foods.

Finally, FDA should take seriously the moral and ethical concerns of people who object to animal cloning. Those who object to the technology on moral grounds should have the choice not to use it. It is not clear that the food safety and animal welfare issues in cloning can be resolved, but even if they are, the agency must protect those who object to cloning by requiring mandatory labeling of cloned foods.

In sum, I urge FDA to impose a legal ban on the sale of food from cloned animals until:
· The agency establishes a mandatory pre-market review process, including independent and transparent long-term testing (with the burden of proof of safety on the clone developer) to demonstrate food safety;
· Animal cruelty issues from the frequent deformities and health problems of animal clones are technically resolved and meet the highest standards for animal welfare;
· Broad public discussions have resolved the unique ethical and moral issues raised by cloning; and
· FDA has required labeling for all food from clones and their offspring, to protect consumer choice.


Sincerely,

YOUR NAME
YOUR ADDRESS


Joseph Mendelson III| joemend@icta.org
Legal Director

Center for Food Safety &
Int'l Center for Technology Assessment

660 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Suite 302
Washington, DC 20003
www.centerforfoodsafety.org ;
(202) 547-9359 | fax (202) 547-9429
This e-mail message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, or distribution is prohibited by law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

Sheilah Davidson
Administrative Director
National Campaign For Sustainable Agriculture
P.O. Box 396
Pine Bush, New York 12566
Phone: 845-361-5201 Fax: 845-361-5204
e-mail: sheilah@sustainableagriculture.net
http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/

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