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Here Come the Clones

It’s nothing new that the US is actively pursuing the integration of cloned animals into the domestic food supply. It’s worth noting, however, that the program aimed at putting clones on the market is coming along at a quick enough clip.

The BBC reports that dead animals are being used to clone new cows for “the perfect steak”–the idea being that we can’t analyze the qualities of the meat until the animals are dead.

So–American perfectionism at its best–the US is pushing forward with clone integration into the food supply. Although there are currently only about 1000 clones in a total of 100 million cattle, the number is expected to grow. The process is more or less like this: The farmer buys a clone (apparently at about $17,000 a pop) that is guaranteed to produce “good” meat. The farmer then breeds that clone with natural born cattle in order to improve his/her herd’s beef production.

Europe is not interested in integrating clones and would rather continue to use natural born cattle in its meat and dairy production. US cloning companies dismiss this attitude as economically uncompetitive. Generally speaking, Europe uses the precautionary principle in dealing with food safety. The principle, which is most often used in international agreements and fora, basically states that if it hasn’t been proven to be healthy for consumption, it shouldn’t be consumed. The US, on the other hand, while supposedly basing its own (poorly implemented and enforced) food safety law on the same principle, generally approaches it as: “if no one has died from it, it’s probably safe, so let’s sell it to the public and sue other countries that won’t import it .” Don’t believe me? Read more here.

So. Clones have not been proven to be any different than natural born specimens; but, there also hasn’t been a very long research period before throwing it on the shelves. In fact, the current “exploratory” period is purely economic. While the percentage is still quite small, there is a very slight chance that tonight’s burger on your plate is part clone.

Whether or not this bothers you is your choice of course. But it’s something we should all at least be aware of. The lack of general public information about where our food comes from, especially in the US, is what is motivating me to list this kind of thing on this food blog. I hope you find it relevant and at least a little bit useful.

So. What’s next? Well, Whole Foods has banned the sale of clones and cloned offspring. But what about the rest of us?

Marty and his clone, Blinky. (Note: Not really.) http://forexcare.net/capitalism-nowadays/

Clones. It’s what’s for dinner.

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