When you're paying special attention to your diet, it is important to monitor the foods you eat, as this is an essential part of any healthy eating plan. Of course, the types of foods we eat can have a major impact on our overall health; for example, eating lots of fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet, while junk food is not. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recent preliminary approval of cloned foods for consumption has also gotten individuals concerned about where their food is coming from. While not yet on the market, cloned animals could soon become the way of the future. But how could cloned food affect your health?
Cloned Animals: What are They?
Cloned animals are produced when the nuclei of cells are extracted from adult animals and then fused together with egg cells, from which nuclei are extracted. Animals that have been cloned so far are livestock, such as cattle.
While currently not available for public consumption, meat, eggs and milk from cloned animals were recently declared safe by the FDA, a preliminary decision that came after some five years of deliberation. The FDA has yet to decide whether products originating from cloned animals and from their offspring should be labeled as such.
Benefits of Cloned Food
The main benefit of food products originating from cloned animals is that it allows the food industry to have a greater control over the quality and quantity of foods produced. For example, ranchers can perpetuate their best livestock, resulting in a higher production of milk and eggs, as well as tastier meat.
A study deemed that the safest animals to clone were cows, followed by pig, goat and sheep.
Side Effects of Cloned Food
While studies have found that young cloned animals are vulnerable to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, some experts believe that the risk to food safety of cloned animals is small.
This is because the chance of neonatal animals entering the food supply is virtually non-existent.
Studies in Japan have also not found any irregularities in cloned animals used for human consumption.
However, a recent survey conducted in the United States found that some 60% of its participants had an aversion to consuming cloned food because of ethical reasons.
In addition, recent outbreaks of food poisoning—such as the recent spinach E. coli disease outbreak—has some Americans worried that cloned food products can be harmful to their health due to the potential for disease.