Coming to a Menu Near You: Char-Broiled Clone Burgers

This past January the Food and Drug Administration was all set to allow meat from cloned farm animals into supermarkets, claiming, “Extensive evaluation of the available data has not identified any subtle hazards that might indicate food consumption risks in healthy clones of cattle, swine or goats.”

Prior to this ruling the livestock industry maintained a voluntary ban on marketing food from cloned animals. Good idea. Since many consumer groups and members of Congress believe more testing is needed before cloned meat can be deemed as “safe.”

The Center for Food Safety had this comment, "The cloning industry's proposal is simply another attempt to force cloned milk and meat on consumers and the dairy industry by giving the public phony assurances.”

Consumer apprehension—especially in light of the massive Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing recall—could be DOUBLY BAD because the FDA will NOT require mandatory labels for clone-derived food. What ever happened to the consumer's right to know?

And this leads me to my question. IF actually given the choice, would you eat meat from a cloned animal? I ran this query by some of DiseaseProof’s favorite health and nutrition gurus. Here’s what they had to say:
  • Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD, co-author of The China Study, said, “I would not eat cloned meat…Because I don't support the gross mechanization of living beings…I rely on empirical evidence to make my decisions and there is no evidence whether cloned meat would be better or worse than regular meat.”
  • Dr. Michael Greger, author of Carbophobia, says, “I wouldn’t eat meat from cloned animals…The welfare of so many farm animals is already so abysmal thanks in part to traditional genetic selection techniques…I don't understand the need to add insult to injury by using biotechnology to stress animals even further.”
  • Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, feels that, “Eating meat that is cloned or not is equivalent to the choice of being shot or hung… All muscle whether it paws with a hoof, flaps a wing or wiggles a fin is made up of animal fat, animal protein and cholesterol, all of which are bad for human health.”
  • Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat For Health and Eat To Live, “Cloned meat is not likely to be unhealthier than meat produced by normal sexual reproduction…Factory farming methods with heavy antibiotic use, chemicals and commercial feed are the larger negatives…The cheeseburger, bacon, potato chips, and fries and ice cream are the real factors to be fearful of, not the cloning itself.”
  • Jeff Novick, MS, RD, Director of Health Education for the National Health Association replied, “Why do people worry about cloned meat, when they should be worrying about meat period…Meat is high in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and when cooked is known to produce toxic chemicals, like heterocyclic aromatic amines, that have been linked to cancers…I would recommend people avoid all meat period, not just cloned meat. Then they no longer have to worry. “
  • Dr. Howie Jacobson of FitFam said, “The thought of humans cloning animals to feed our obscene appetite for animal protein disgusts me…We're already acting like the world is this giant candy store…Cloning just takes the objectification and exploitation of fellow sentient creatures to a scary new level.”
Clearly, people on the frontlines of diet and health aren’t in favor of serving up Dolly, but what about my fellow bloggers and journalists. How do they feel about cloned meat? Let’s find out:
  • Jim Foster of Diet-Blog said, “Who benefits from cloned meat…It seems that the more industrialized the food supply becomes the easier it is for unsafe foods to be rapidly disseminated across the supply line.”
  • Julie D. Deardorff of Julie’s Health Club, said “I would never eat cloned meat...I've been a vegetarian for 23 years for health, for ethical and environmental reasons…The state of our food supply thoroughly depresses me.”
  • Henry Abbott of TrueHoop wonders, ““Why do we have to clone? Are we short of good cow genes? Isn't this just about profits and price points?”
  • Sally Squires, leader of The Lean Plate Club, replied, “Would I eat cloned meat? No, although I might try it once…But it's not something that I would seek to buy,”
  • UroStream’s Keagirl answered, “I understand that cloned meat shouldn't be any different than ‘regular’ meat, but something about the whole idea of test-tube raised animals puts me off.”
  • Mike “The Mad Biologist” Feldgarden said, “I don't think it'll be bad for you and unlike genetically modified plants, which can crossbreed with other species, cloned meats aren't going to do anything.”
  • Laura Klein of OrganicAuthority, said, “Absolutely not! Cloning is very experimental and the current studies are inadequate…I feel it is completely unnatural and inhumane for the animal.”
  • Scott Wharton of HealthandMen said, “This is a tough one because I love beef, but do we need more cattle producing more methane gases? So no, I wouldn't eat cloned beef, lamb maybe.”
  • Douglas Heddings of TrueGotham said, “I would be very reluctant to eat cloned meat…The entire meat industry frightens me a bit, from steroids and hormones to now cloning.”
Wow, tough crowd! Hardly anyone is clamoring for Franken-burgers. Okay, what about DiseaseProof readers? Would these veg-heads EVER go for the clone? See for yourself:
  • Cindy Prost, a 22-year old nutritional science student from Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada, said “I would never eat cloned meat…Organic, local, grass raised is the way to go if you choose to consume animal products.”
  • Sara Rostampour, a 24-year old nutrition educator from Minneapolis, Minnesota, says, “I wouldn't eat cloned meat…The more we make animals into commodities, the worse they are typically treated.”
  • Rowland Morin, a 62-year old beach volleyball instructor from Santa Cruz, California, said, “My answer is no…This cloning experiment raises huge red flags. Manufactures want it so they can make even higher profits off their animal products. I don’t want to be their guinea pig.”
  • Heidi J. Will, a 37-year old massage therapist from North Tonawanda, New York, insists, “Cloning seems to be a defiance of natural law and the risk is not worth it…Furthermore, the reputation of the food-production community has not gained my confidence.”
  • Michael Natale a 41-year old owner of a computing company from Cumberland, Rhode Island, answered, “No, I don't trust the companies preparing meat for general consumption as it is…I have to believe there hasn't been an exhaustive, lengthy study done of potentially harmful side effects.”
Granted, DiseaseProof readers aren’t known for their meat-eating, but what about diners at a local food court? Here’s what patrons of the food court in the Bridgewater Commons Mall, Bridgewater, New Jersey had to say:
  • Brian Ramirez, a 32-year old manager at Godiva chocolates from Yonkers, New York, replied, “As long as it tastes the same I don’t see why I wouldn’t it eat.”
  • Steven Torres, a 23-year old assistant manager at Aeropostale from East Windsor, New Jersey, exclaimed “No! It sounds bad. It creeps me out.”
  • Thomas Pace, a 45-year old sales associated from Linden, New Jersey, said, “Yeah, as long as the government says is okay to eat.”
  • Leslie Harrington, a 22 year-old student aid from Clinton, New Jersey, exclaimed, “No that’s disgusting!”
  • Irene Coville, a 41-year old homemaker from Green Brook, New Jersey, said, “No. I can’t imagine why we need to clone meat.”
But in the end—consumer and expert reactions aside—it seems we’re right back where we started. “The question of whether consumers will eat cloned meat is moot,” explains Dr. Henry I. Miller Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, “Since there won't be any labeling to identify meat derived from clones.”

Hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, monosodium glutamate, and now, cloned meat; all part of our brave new world.
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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Heidi - March 10, 2008 2:22 PM

Just thinking here...
Often times, I notice, that the argument which states that hybridized plant products do not harm us comes up when discussing cloned meat, as a means to demonstrate the possible benign nature of food animal cloning but, I wonder. Are hybridized plants really that harmless? I have heard, although I don't remember where or when, that hybridized plants often present problems with resisting pests and things. Perhaps, then, this is an indication that something is awry with the overall pracitice of messing with nature? Although studies may not indicate any direct, perceivable harm to the human body, wouldn't the evidence that nature is disrupted, even in this way, regarding natural plant defenses, provide evidence for something to be cautious of?
Any thoughts from your knowledge base, Gerry?


Llouise - March 10, 2008 4:33 PM

To both your comments, I've had the same concerns. I mentioned this at the forums, but no one seemed to get what I meant when wondering if messing with our veggies is more dangerous (or deleterious; loss of nutrients, etc.) in any way, *because* the sneaky ways "they" are labeling (and not) and getting away with NOT informing the consumer of various manipulations. I read that some non-organic produce is modified (hybridized?) or injected -- something to that effect -- with fish genes. And the consume wouldn't know. This would pose a problem on various levels, myself, being vegan, a BIG one! Lots of concerns just with that issue alone.
Very frustrating, indeed!

Sara - March 10, 2008 9:48 PM

I'm no fan of messing with things either but hybrid and GMO {geneticaly modified} are not the same thing. The fish gene thing has to do with GMO-yick. Heirloom fruits and vegetables would be really great if you can get them.

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