Cloned Animal Products at America's Dinner Tables

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

October 7, 2005

Cloned food might be destined for menus across America. Federal regulators are looking at endorsing one company's plan to bring cloned animal products to America's dinner tables.

Cloning barnyard animals to produce juicier steaks and tastier chops; that's what Viagen, Inc. said it's more than ready to efficiently do.

But are local consumers ready for it? "It wouldn't matter to me, as long as they did all of the proper tests, I'm definitely ok with it, " said one Charlottesville resident.

"I would rather have it never happen, okay? Just leave it how it is," said another resident.

For decades farmers have selected genetic traits they want enhanced and then just bred animals with those traits.

"We're able in ten generations to change all of our livestock dramatically and there's no reason that we have to clone to do it," said Edward Scharer, Owner of Buck Island Farm.

Right now there are no laws against cloned foods, so besides a nod from the F.D.A., skeptical consumers and food producers are the only things standing in Viagen's way.

"If people are interested in trying cloned beef or cloned pork, I'm sure that it's for the interests of trying something once," explained Scharer. "I once tried alligator, but I didn't want to make it a stable part of my diet either."

Reports suggest there aren't any safety concerns with eating cloned animal products, and the F.D.A. is expected to endorse those findings.

But even that won't ease everyone's concerns.

"I would not trust it, if they said it [was okay]. It just can't be safe," concluded another Charlottesville resident.

Viagen has voluntarily withheld its products pending a ruling from the Food and Drug Administration.

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