Senator calls for labeling of cloned foods

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Food and drug administration, California, Nutrition, Fda

California State Senator Carole Migden has unveiled legislation
that would require the clear labeling of meat and milk from cloned

The legislation, SB 63, was the focus of a State Capitol news conference yesterday, after which it was due to receive its first legislative hearing in the Senate Health Committee. There have as yet been no further developments resulting from the hearing. The move comes after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December issued draft guidance on allowing meat and milk from cloned cows into the food chain. The regulator recently extended a 90-day consultation period to gather feedback before deciding whether its proposals -including allowing cloned food to be sold with no special labeling - should become policy. FDA has added an extra 30 days to the comment period, which is now due to close on May 3 2007. According to Migden, if these products do reach supermarket shelves, consumers should at least be able to decide whether or not they want to buy them. "People have the right to know if food is organic, if it contains pesticides or growth-promoting hormones, or if it's from cloned or natural-bred animals. Consumers certainly don't want to wrestle with moral issues like cloning while they're doing the family grocery shopping,"​ she said. Migden was joined in her proposals to require labeling of cloned food in California by two national consumer groups, the Center for Food Safety and Consumers Union. Last month, the Canter for Food Safety released a review of the FDA's risk assessment, claiming it was based on "flawed assumptions and misrepresented findings".​ The report said that FDA found virtually no scientific evidence to support the commercial release of these experimental foods. It claimed that FDA found no peer-reviewed studies on meat from cloned cows or on milk or meat from the offspring of cow clones. The group also said the agency found just three peer-reviewed studies on milk from cloned cows, adding that all three studies showed differences in milk from clones that should have prompted further research. "Animal clones should not be used for food until long-term studies show that this technology can be used safely and humanely,"​ said Rebecca Spector, West Coast director of the Center for Food Safety. "If these foods are then marketed, labeling should be required to ensure consumer choice for those who wish to avoid cloned food. Senator Migden's bill will protect Californians if the FDA recklessly disregards the unknowns about cloned food."

Related topics: Food labelling

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