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CU urges Governor to require labels on cloned food

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007

Consumers Union Urges Governor Schwarzenegger to Pass Bill Requiring Labeling of Cloned Milk and Meat

Sacramento, Calif.–Consumers Union today urged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign into law legislation requiring the labeling of cloned milk and meat. California Senate Bill 63, requiring labeling of cloned milk and meat, passed the Legislature and is being sent to the Governor for a signature.
“Foods from cloned animals will likely be in supermarkets, unlabeled, before the end of this year,” said Elisa Odabashian, Director of Consumers Union’s West Coast office. “Americans want to know whether the food they buy and eat is coming from cloned animals because they are concerned about this untried and untested technology. The Governor should sign this legislation to require food manufacturers to label food derived from cloned animals so consumers can avoid them if they choose to and so that the government can track any future negative health impacts.”
An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that milk and meat from cloned animals should be labeled, according to a recent national poll conducted by Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. Eighty-nine percent of those polled want such labels. The poll also found that 69 percent of respondents were concerned about eating milk or meat from cloned animals.
The U.S. 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 unique 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, and 5 hogs. In addition, it indicated that a majority of clones died in the fetal stage or shortly after birth. Those that survived tended to be sickly. The FDA received tens of thousands of comments from the public about its preliminary risk assessment, most expressing concern about the technology.
“There is simply too little data on cloned milk and meat 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 beyond a year. We need more research and data as to the long-term human health impacts of eating this food. We hope the Governor will agree that, at the very least, it should be labeled to inform and protect consumers.”

To read Consumer Union’s letter to the Governor, click here.
Elisa Odabashian
415-431-6747 or 415-572-0036 (cell)