The American Organic Trade Association (OTA) has urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rethink its preliminary statement regarding products from cloned animals.
Friday saw the release of the FDA's statement concerning the safety of milk and meat that could be produced from cloned animals. Its risk analysis concluded that food from these animals or from cloned animals' offspring could be as safe as conventional food to eat. However, this has sparked a debate that has left the OTA calling for more careful investigations on the matter to be carried out before a final decision is made.
The OTA says that the FDA should base its decision on information that is based, "beyond short term findings".
The organisation which represents the $11 billion organic industry in America, is not convinced that products that come from cloned animals are safe for consumption. Its fundamental argument revolves around the labelling of animal cloned meat and milk produce.
Biotech companies clone animals by taking the nuclei of cells from adults and fusing them into other egg cells from which the nuclei have been extracted. This has raised ethical and financial questions that concern both consumers and those in the industry itself. Some claim that the implementation of a law allowing cloned animal produce to be sold could financially ruin farms that do not have the ability to clone animals. The OTA said that these products should not be deemed organic.
"As the body responsible for protecting the safety of American citizens, the FDA is obliged to take a precautionary approach," said Katherine DiMatteo, the OTA's executive director.
The FDA claims that "there would be little rationale for labelling if the cloned animals are identical to other animals that are currently in the food chain".
The food policy director of the American Consumer Federation said that the use of "clear labelling", is the only way that the American public could decide if they agree with the issue.
"Consumers need to understand that organic foods are not made with added pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. If the food is from a cloned animal, the food is not organic," DiMatteo argued.
Lester Crawford, deputy commissioner of the FDA, has said that the organisation will "not rush into judgment" and will closely review all public concerns.
The FDA is expected to make a final policy decision next year, but has asked the industry not to sell food from cloned animals until further studies can be conducted.