In early 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they considered meat and milk from cloned animals to be safe to eat despite years of controversy and a long list of unresolved ethical, health, and animal welfare concerns. The agency asked the livestock industry to continue a voluntary moratorium on putting meat and milk from cloned animals into the food supply, but did not ask for the same moratorium on products from the offspring of cloned animals. And, to add insult to injury, the agency will not require any of these foods to be labeled.
Currently, the appeal of cloned animals to the livestock industry largely lies in their role as breeders or milk producers. Already, cloned bulls’ sperm is shipped all over the country to sire offspring with particularly desirable traits, such as high milk production. These “half-clones” (offspring of cloned animals) are possibly reaching the marketplace, with no consumer awareness as to their ancestry. One semen broker who has sold the sperm of cloned bulls, said that these offspring are “going to be slaughtered [for food], and the FDA can’t do anything about it.” In 2001, the FDA asked farmers to voluntarily refrain from selling meat or milk from cloned animals or their offspring, but no one at the agency is tracking whether farmers are complying.