Proving itself as big-biz-friendly as ever, the FDA has announced that it has no plans to require labels on cloned-animal products—so if we’re not unknowingly chowing down on racks of Dolly already, we probably will be within the next year. The government has already tentatively declared cloned meat and milk products safe for human consumption but is expected to give its official approval within the next year.
As the AP reports, the organics section of the supermarket will remain a no-clone zone:
Shoppers won’t be completely in the dark. To help them sort through meat and dairy products, one signal is the USDA organic seal, said Caren Wilcox, who heads the Organic Trade Association…. Wilcox said the U.S. Department of Agriculture label means clone-free.
Hmm. Good to know there will be an alternative, but it’s still cold comfort to a GMO skeptic like me. Sure, unlike genetically modified plants, whose pollen can drift into neighboring fields and contaminate organic crops, cloned animals probably aren’t extremely likely to escape and cross-breed with heirloom breeds. But what about baby livestock bought from nonorganic farms and then raised organically (which is allowed under USDA rules, at least for dairy animals, with certain stipulations)? Could eco-minded farmers with the best intentions end up having the wool pulled over their eyes by unscrupulous livestock dealers eager to unload cloned animals? Fraud of this kind is still notoriously hard to detect—just ask purveyors of “wild-caught” fish.