Report on Dangers of Cloning
The Food and Drug Administration recently declared cloned meat and milk safe for human consumption and what’s more, they are not even requiring these products to declare this on their labeling.
However, consumers concerned about products from cloned cows have the option to choose organic
products, as cloned animals are not permitted in certified organic foods.
There are profound scientific, regulatory, food safety, trade and cultural issues wrapped up in cloning—including animal welfare
issues, as many attempts at livestock cloning still end in fatal birth defects and animals that are often unhealthy. This is discussed in “Is
the FDA’s Cloning Proposal Ready for Prime Time?” report, available at www.organic-center.org. James Riddle of the University of
Minnesota, discusses why epigenetic changes in cloned animals are important in animal health and food safety and exposes the lack of a
scientific basis for the FDA’s standard for judging that a cloned animal is safe to eat.
Methods Proposed to
Verify the Integrity of
A study just published in the Journal
of Environmental Quality describes a
nitrogen isotope tracer methodology
that one day
might be used
to test organic food to
whether conventional ferti
lizers were applied.
They describe a successful application of the method to sweet pepper production. Commercial fertilizer is made
mostly from atmospheric nitrogen,
which is composed almost solely of the
14N isotope. Organically acceptable
manure and compost-based fertilizers,
on the other hand, contain a significant
share of the 15N isotope, leading the
team to use the 14N to 15N ratio as a
basic indicator of whether commercial
fertilizers had been applied.
The team was able to distinguish
between peppers grown with and without commercial fertilizers, by analyzing
the ratio of nitrogen isotopes. They
conclude that the method might one
day be used routinely by certifiers to
check organic integrity.
Such applications, however, are
almost certainly a long way off, because
it remains difficult to determine where
to draw the line in the ratio values
between fields treated and not treated
with commercial fertilizers. Several fac-
tors are known to impact the ratio
including irrigation, past fertilizer use,
soil type and climate.