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Consumers want labels on cloned milk and meat

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Poll Finds 89% Of Consumers Want Labels On Cloned Milk and Meat
California Lawmakers Consider Legislation Requiring Such Labels

SACRAMENTO, CA — An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that milk and meat from cloned animals should be labeled, according to a new poll by Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. Eighty-nine percent of those polled want such labels. A bill (SB 63) requiring labeling has been approved by the California Senate and will be considered by the Assembly Health Committee at a hearing on Tuesday, June 26, 2007.
The Consumers Union poll also found that 69 percent of respondents were concerned about eating milk or meat from cloned animals. In this telephone poll of a nationally representative sample of adults, the results differed little among geographic regions.
“Most Americans want to know whether the food they buy and eat is coming from cloned animals because they are concerned about this new technology,” said Elisa Odabashian, Director of Consumers Union’s west coast office. “State lawmakers should require food manufacturers to label food derived from cloned animals so consumers have the choice to avoid them and so that government can track any future health impacts.”
Cloned milk and meat could be in supermarkets by the end of 2007. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a preliminary risk assessment of these products last December, indicating that it was unlikely to require labeling of food derived from cloning. At the time, the FDA indicated that it did not find evidence of food safety hazards in milk and meat from cloned animals. However, its analysis was based on only a handful of clones—43 dairy cows, 16 beef cattle, 5 hogs.
“There is simply too little data for consumers to be confident that this radical practice is safe,” said Odabashian. “Clones are often very sickly and must be treated with antibiotics to survive. Many don’t make it to their first birthdays. We still have very little data that points to the long-term human health impacts of eating this food. At the very least, it should be labeled.”
Read testimony (PDF format).
Elisa Odabashian – 415-431-6747 or 415-572-0036 (cell)