Thursday, January 04, 2007

Clone Wars!

I sent this letter to the editor to several newspapers yesterday: Dear Editor, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced approval of meat and dairy products from cloned animals, despite widespread concern among scientists and food safety advocates.Recent polls show that, though most Americans do not want food from cloned animals, cloned milk and meat may soon be sold without labels. But there is much more to the debate than just the nutrient profile of cloned meat and milk, which the FDA seems to have focused on to the exclusion of other issues. Some scientists argue that clones may be inherently unhealthy, with potentially harmful consequences for foods derived from clones. Altered gene expression is common in clones and the process typically results in defective aborted fetuses and birth defects. The first cloned mammal was the sheep "Dolly". Just six years old when euthanized (expected to live until eleven), Dolly suffered from arthritis and lung disease usually found in much older animals. The lead scientist responsible for "creating"Dolly warned that even small imbalances in a clone's hormone, protein or fat levels could compromise the safety of its milk or meat, and some farmers do inject synthetic growth hormones in dairy cows. The FDA has ignored valid scientific and ethical concerns to fast-track a decision for the benefit of biotech companies, without significant public input. Please let our representatives in Washington know that food from cloned animals should be banned. At least label cloned food so we may freely choose whether to eat or avoid it. Neil E. Levin Clinical Nutritionist

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