The FDA recently made the decision that food products which come from cloned animals do not need special labels at the supermarket. They say there is no difference at all between the original cow/sheep/pig than its clone, and there are no health risks associated with eating these animals. You can read the whole CNN article here.
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this. My first reaction is to be creeped out. It has been over 10 years since Dolly the sheep showed up in the news, and that is a lot of time for cloning technologies to evolve and become more widespread. However, to me it still sounds like
something from a sci-fi movie, and a horrible made-for-tv one by the Sci-Fi channel at that. I don't understand the science behind it and therefore I fear it and its possibilities.
I also wonder about the safety of eating so much food that comes from a science lab. And I'm not just talking clones here. Almost all of our meats are genetically altered in some way - to make the cows produce more milk, pigs be meatier and chickens create more and larger eggs. None of this food is labeled either. Your bacon does not have a warning on it that says - "From a genetically enhanced pig." and your milk doesn't say "Now with more bovine growth hormones!". So I guess if that is the standard they've set, why would they start with labeling cloned food?
Cloned. Food. Just let that sink in. If the idea of eating an exact genetic copy of another animal made by scientists in a test tube does not creep you out even a little bit and make you seriously consider being a vegetarian, then you should just sign up for Fear Factor right now, because you would win.
I have never tried to be a vegetarian before. I know those little piggies and moo moos are cute, and I have heard the many horror stories about how they are raised, but I have decided that 1) I am not selfish about much in my life, so I can have a clear conscious about being selfish about my place on the food chain (and anyone with a problem with it can choke on a big fat carrot stick); and 2) those animals are mighty tasty! Mmmm boy!
I am, however, getting increasingly concerned about the safety of many foods (even fruits and vegetables with all their pesticidal goodness), and see that even being a vegetarian may not even be the way to solve this problem. The only hope is that someday soon my financial situation will allow me to buy all organics, and that eventually they will be affordable for everyone.
Until then I guess it's going to be:
Well hello, Dolly
It's so nice to have you back where you belong
You're lookin' swell, Dolly
We can tell, Dolly
You're still glowin', you'rs still crowin'
You're still goin' strong.
Picture of Dolly taken from Wikipedia, click on the image to see full credits.