2003N-0573 Draft Animal Cloning Risk Assessment
FDA Comment Number : EC507
Submitter : Ms. Diane Porter Date & Time: 01/03/2007 03:01:41
Organization : Ms. Diane Porter
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
To Whom it May Concern:
It seems the major rationale for not labeling food and dairy products from cloned animals is that the food is not different in any way than that from animals that were not cloned. For the purposes of this letter we will assume that not only is that fact true, but will stay true -- i.e., problems with having consumed cloned products won't appear five or 10 years down the line.
Regardless, you must understand that the American public will see it in the exact opposite light. As we should.
Information is key. Information that is out in the open is seen as honest. Information that is hidden is seen as being, at best, dishonest, and at worst, harmful. In a country where we have continued to expand the content and sophistication of our nutritional labeling, it seems preposterous that this would not be part of the protocol.
A move to allow cloned products without labels will be seen as several things: an attempt by the beef, pork and dairy industry to make more money at the possible cost of the health of the American consumer; a signal that the FDA and in fact higher Washington administration offices are, indeed, beholden to the agriculture lobbies; and that once again, government cannot be trusted.
The food is no different? Fine. Then label it and get over it.
If you don't label it, then it will be anyway -- because every other product will immediately bear labels that read 'not from cloned animals.' And I, as well as millions of others, will buy those products first.
Do you doubt this? Look at the transformation of the organic foods industry, especially that of organic dairy products, in conventional supermarkets. What used to be a very small niche now requires more and more square footage even in the largest national chains. More acreage is devoted and converted to organic farming every year. Antibiotic-free meat and dairy, while more expensive, is more and more popular.
If the food is no different, then prove it in a way that the American public will believe -- independently. Get independent people that the public trusts to investigate it and tell us that. People who will be recognized as having no interest in the industry. Show us, for instance, that not only is it truly identical, and safe in the long run, but also that cloning antibiotic-free cows makes antibiotic-free beef more affordable.
The FDA needs to be really careful here. Understand that Americans have been conditioned to not trust you. If you want this to succeed, it needs to be tested correctly, proven irrefutably, labeled truthfully and marketed honestly. If you want it to fail, just continue on.


Diane Porter
Olathe, Kansas 66061