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Clone-Free Food Labeling May Soon Be a Reality at Your Grocery Store

Apparently, some food manufacturers are waking up after last week's approval by the FDA of cloned meats and milk and wondering how to distance themselves from this latest "breakthrough," perhaps because Americans remain so skeptical and leery about it.

The result could be "clone-free" food labeling among some manufacturers like Ben & Jerry's whose packaging already claims the farmers they employ don't use bovine growth hormones. Unfortunately, companies that may choose to do so must be careful about how they state any claims, according to the FDA, as to imply a clone-free product might be safer than another.

Some groups -- notably the FDA and the Biotechnology Industry Organization -- claim labeling isn't necessary (and absurd). However, the International Dairy Foods Association estimates product sales of their members could fall by up to 15 percent when clones are introduced into the food chain.

By the same token, others, including one Congresswoman who heads an important agriculture subcommittee, believe the issue is certainly worth considering, if for no other reason than a freedom to choose.

Again, no experts, health or otherwise, can promise you foods made from cloned animals are as safe to eat as the "real thing," a good reason why, for example, processed meats may be an even riskier proposition than ever before. Your best health choice: Narrow your sights to grass-fed and organic meats, whenever possible.

MSNBC December 28, 2006

The Fresno Bee.com January 3, 2006