Top food companies say no clones

September 10, 2008

The Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth announced that 20 of America’s leading food producers and retailers have stated that they will not use cloned animals in their food.

The companies include Kraft Foods; General Mills; Gerber/Nestle; Campbell Soup Company; Gossner Foods; Smithfield Foods; Ben & Jerry’s; Amy’s Kitchen; California Pizza Kitchen restaurants; Hain Celestial; Cloverland, Oberweis, Prairie, Byrne, Plainview, and Clover-Stornetta Dairies; and grocers PCC Natural Markets, Albertsons, SUPERVALU, and Harris Teeter.

The move by these companies represents a growing industry trend of responding to consumer demand for better food safety, environmental, and animal welfare standards.

“This rejection of food from clones sends a strong message to biotech firms that their products may not find a market,” says Lisa Bunin, PhD, Campaigns Coordinator at the Center for Food Safety.

“American consumers don’t want to eat food from clones or their offspring, and these companies have realistically anticipated low market acceptance for this new and untested technology.” This sentiment is echoed by General Mills in their letter to the Center which identified “consumer acceptance” as an important consideration with respect to the potential use of ingredients from clones in their products.

Kraft Foods expressed a similar position in a letter stating that although they defer to the conclusions of the FDA on the safety of ingredients from cloned animals, “product safety is not the only factor we consider in our products. We must also carefully consider additional factors such as consumer benefits and acceptance…and research in the U.S. indicates that consumers are currently not receptive to ingredients from cloned animals.”

In May 2008, the Center for Food Safety began reaching out to companies involved in the production, use, and sale of meat and milk products, regarding their position on the use of food from clones. In response, three of the top-earning food manufacturing companies indicated that they will not be using ingredients from clones or their offspring.

Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Director, Rob Michalak, told the Center for Food Safety “Cloning presents a host of complex social, economic and animal welfare consequences. The decision to approve clones for food use was rushed through, under the radar, without a proper, comprehensive review. As a result, we now need to establish a national registry and tracking framework so that people know where the clones are.”

Ben & Jerry’s, Amy’s Kitchen, Clover-Stornetta, Oberweis Dairy, Prairie Farms Dairy, Plainview Dairy, PCC Natural Markets, and Hain Celestial have gone one step further by stating that they would not use ingredients from clones or their offspring. The Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and the American Anti-Vivisection Society are working to obtain more commitments of this kind.

In addition, Friends of the Earth has worked with top U.S. grocers to determine their policy on the use of cloned animals and their offspring in their food, and presented them with over 8,000 signatures from consumers who reject products made from these animals.

To date, Albertsons, SUPERVALU and Harris Teeter have informed Friends of the Earth that they will not sell products from cloned animals.

“Grocers are recognizing that people do not want to eat food from cloned animals,” said Gillian Madill, Genetic Technologies Campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Food safety authorities must also recognize this and – in keeping with their public interest mandate – enact labeling regulations that allow Americans their fundamental right to choose.”

The American Anti-Vivisection Society, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Citizens for Health, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Humane Society of the United States, Organic Consumers Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Interfaith Center on Cooperate Responsibility have sent FDA over 150,000 letters from their supporters who oppose the unlabeled introduction of cloned animals and their offspring into the US food supply.

http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/CloningPR9_3_08.cfm

One Response to “Top food companies say no clones”

  1. Page Remick Says:

    Should we be upset or should we remember the Food and Drug Administration’s earlier calm assurance to American citizens in January 2008, that eating meat and dairy from cloned animals isn’t harmful to our health?

    To answer this, we have to look into the basis of the FDA assurance that clones are harmless. The truth is there is no basis for being calm. According to the Center for Food Safety, there are no peer-reviewed studies about meat and dairy from cloned animals revealing the health impacts on humans who consume them. In actuality, the CFS has uncovered studies that reveal a very slim chance of survival for cloned animals (only 5%) and of those animals many defects can occur including still birth in up to 42% of animals as well as well-documented cases of intestinal blockages; diabetes; shortened tendons; deformed feet; weakened immune systems; dysfunctional hearts, brains, livers, and kidneys; respiratory distress; and circulatory problems.

    In a survey conducted by the FDA themselves, Americans have already voiced their suspicions of clone meat:

     77% of American consumers are “not comfortable” with eating cloned animal products.
     81% of American consumers believe that cloned foods should be labeled.
     0% of participants in an FDA-sponsored study would feed cloned animal foods to their children.

    I, for one, am losing faith in the validity of a government entity such as the FDA based upon its seeming lack of concern toward the value of American health. If they make assumptions based upon little or no scientific facts and even go against the suggestions of the National Academy of Sciences and the American people to conduct further tests, they have taken away my freedom of choice-the right to know what is in the food I eat. If we are unable to keep these animals out of the food supply completely, as suggested by the FDA, I agree with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and believe we should insist and expect that all food derived from cloned animals is clearly labeled so that we are able to clearly monitor the effects of eating such products and allow those who do not wish to eat these things the ability to avoid it.

    What can you do to put a stop to this? Friends of the Earth is currently circulating a petition to stop cloned meat from hitting our grocery shelves at http://action.foe.org .

    Page Remick, CEO of i-tryit.com


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