December 27, 2006
It's been ten years since the first animal was cloned and since then there has been much debate over the issue.
The FDA is expected to announce later this week their approval of products from cloned cows, goats, and pigs.
“It shouldn't be any different from anything we're eating or drinking now,” said local farmer, Atlee Burkholder.
The FDA says after years of study they want to give the okay for the products to be served in restaurants and sold in grocery stores.
“We consume as a society genetically modified foods every day that we don't even know about,” said UVa Clinical Nutritionist, Kelli Hughes.
However, scientists and farmers say there is no reason to worry, because it's not genetically engineered food, but food used from a genetic twin.
“To me it’s no different than what the donor cow was,” added Burkholder.
Consumer advocacy groups and nutritionists are still against the use of the cloned products, because there is not a plan from the FDA to label the food that includes it, and since dairy is a core part of the American diet, people want to know what they are feeding their family.
“I think we've all grown up knowing that dairy is an important part of any diet and I think that our culture gives a lot of dairy products to our children,” Hughes said.
Farmers know how important dairy is to a diet and those who own cloned animals are excited about the expected announcement.
Burkholder bought a cloned cow, he said for him the news is a little two late.
“We assumed that she was going to be worth a lot of money down the road, but we never could get clearances for meat or milk to be consumed by humans, so we had to sell the animal at a great loss,” said Burkholder
People aren't only concerned about products from a clone but their offspring as well.
For many there just isn't enough long-term research for them to go out and pick up cloned meat or milk.
Right now there are nearly six-hundred cloned animals in the United States.