The FDA’s draft risk assessment finds that meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals. The assessment was peer-reviewed by a group of independent scientific experts in cloning and animal health. They agreed with the methods FDA used to evaluate the data and the conclusions set out in the document.
The draft risk assessment presents an overview of assisted reproductive methods widely used in animal agriculture, the extensive scientific information available on animal health and food consumption risks, and draws science-based conclusions. These conclusions agree with those of the National Academies of Sciences, released in a 2002 report. Due to limited data on sheep clones, in the draft guidance FDA recommends that sheep clones not be used for human food.
“Based on FDA’s analysis of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and other studies on the health and food composition of clones and their offspring, the draft risk assessment has determined that meat and milk from clones and their offspring are as safe as food we eat every day,” said Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Cloning poses no unique risks to animal health when compared to other assisted reproductive technologies currently in use in U.S. agriculture.”
An animal clone is a genetic copy of a donor animal, similar to identical twins but born at different times. Cloning is not the same as genetic engineering, which involves altering, adding or deleting DNA; cloning does not change the gene sequence.