Glass gets a little fuller: Farm Bill reins in FDA on cloned food

A piece of good news: Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and the Center for Food Safety just sent out press releases announcing that Milkulski’s amendment, H.R. 2419, has made it through into the Farm Bill. The amendment stops the FDA from approving food from cloned animals until more studies have been done on its safety and whether consumers will accept it. Along with Elanor’s list, this is pretty cheering.

Mikulski’s amendment, co-sponsored with Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) — both of them voted (futilely) for Dorgan-Grassley payment limits, sigh — requires two studies to happen before the FDA approves such food. It asks the National Academy of Sciences to convene the nation’s top scientists to review the FDA’s initial ruling that food from cloned animals is safe, and requires the NAS to study the potential health impacts if consumers avoid certain foods fearing they come from clones. (OK, that one’s a little wacky, but we’ll take it.) It also asks the USDA to gauge consumer acceptance of cloned foods and the impact they could have on domestic and international markets.

I like what Mikulski has to say about why she sponsored this legislation:

"Just because something has been created in a lab, doesn’t mean we should have to eat it. If we discover a problem with cloned food after it is in our food supply and it’s not labeled, the FDA won’t be able to recall it like they did Vioxx – the food will already be tainted. We have been down this road before with product safety – the FDA has a credibility crisis,” said Senator Mikulski. “I believe in science, in research, and in a transparent process. Before we allow cloned animals into our food supply, we must know more about it. When something is this new, unclear and uncertain, we need to be sure."

Exactly. The government should stop gambling the health of many on increased profits for a few — or at least stop rushing to do so.

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