This morning I noticed a few good articles related to food and vegetarianism. The first is a search result from Runner’s World that has a ton of articles and links associated with it. This is definitely a good veg reference for runners and in general. Next, Newsweek published an article this week about the carbon footprint of the food we eat. It discusses how some corporate and college cafeterias are moving to sourcing their food locally to reduce their CO2 emissions. I know that Google has just such a cafeteria on their campus. I will write an article about it soon. Finally, the San Diego Tribune reports that FDA has extended the public comment period for cloned meat and milk. If you have not made your voice heard on this, you have until May 3nd. Check out this article for links to the FDA’s site.
It really looks like it’s going to happen. Beginning soon we may start to see meat and milk from cloned animals at our dinner table. One of the issues that remains is whether or not the USDA will require special labels to be put on products containing cloned animal products. The likely answer is "No," there will not be a requirement to label these products.
There are several questions that I have concerning this whole business of cloning. The first one that really stands out is, why do we need to do it? The countries and companies that have this level of advanced technology are also the countries and companies that have the most meat production and consumption. It’s not like these countries/companies are cloning animals to send food to poor countries. Don’t we already have enough meat and dairy products?
You may say "Oh well, I will just buy organic milk and meat." Good point, as we saw in the article ‘what does "USDA Organic" mean,’ this is a way to avoid eating food from cloned animals. But…wait just a minute, although the USDA mandates that bio-engineered foods can not be labeled organic, it makes no reference to the offspring of cloned animals (progeny). Even if we rely on the "organic" label to "protect" us from eating meat from cloned animals, there is no way to keep up with the bloodlines of animals. Animal factories have thousands of animals on their "farms" and there simply isn’t a way to track them all. Some recent studies have shown that progeny from cloned animals may already be in our food system.
The facts show that cloned animals have a significantly shorter lifespan than their un-engineered counterparts. You may say "Who cares, food animals only have to live long enough to reach slaughter weight." This again is a good point. Even though cloned animals may have a shorter lifespan, they do in-fact live long enough to reach slaughter weight. But, postmortem autopsies are showing that these animals are dying early from pneumonia, liver disease, cancer and a lower level of antibody production. 1 Needless to say, I certainly don’t want to put products from these animals into my body…do you?
You may say "All hope is lost, there’s nothing I can do." -Yes you can, the FDA is taking public comments until April 2007. The most important thing that you can do is make yourself heard where it can make a difference…
Send letters and emails to your State Congress and Senate Representatives. Tell them that this process in unacceptable to you.
Use this link to send your comments directly to the FDA. Remind them that they have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of our food chain.
FDA Comments OR… Use this link to fill out a "pre-written" letter and submit it directly to them. Democracy in Action