Nation's Largest Milk Company Says
Milk From Cloned Cows
Dean Foods Co. of Dallas said
Thursday that its customers
and consumers don't want milk from cloned animals
LIBBY QUAID / AP 23feb2007
"We don't know what the genetic ramifications would be," says Joe Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety. "It's theoretically possible. . .that there could be, through an unexpected pathway, some kind of toxin produced," adds Michael Hansen, PhD, a biologist with Consumers Union. Research finds that only 2 to 5 percent of cloning attempts succeed-and cloned animals often develop serious health problems. "It's not uncommon for cloned animals to have problems with their immune system," explains Charles Crabb, dean of agriculture at California State University in Chico.
WASHINGTON — Milk from cloned cows is no longer welcome at the nation's biggest milk company.
Although the government has approved meat and milk from cloned animals while it conducts further studies, Dean Foods Co. of Dallas said Thursday that its customers and consumers don't want milk from cloned animals. The $10 billion company owns Land O'Lakes and Horizon Organic, among dozens of other brands.
"Numerous surveys have shown that Americans are not interested in buying dairy products that contain milk from cloned cows and Dean Foods is responding to the needs of our consumers," the company said in a statement.
Federal scientists say there is virtually no difference between clones and conventional cows, pigs or goats. The Food and Drug Administration gave preliminary approval to meat and milk from cloned animals and could grant final approval by year's end.
Smaller companies such as Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Organic Valley previously have said they oppose milk from clones.
Milk companies worry that concern over cloning could turn people away from dairy products. So far, public opinion appears mixed.
A September poll by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology found that 64% of respondents were uncomfortable with animal cloning. A December poll by the University of Maryland found that the same percentage would buy, or consider buying, such food if the government said it was safe.
Dean Foods spokeswoman Marguerite Copel said the company respects the FDA, "but we've got a customer and consumer base."
The company didn't say whether it would use milk from the offspring of cloned animals. Cloning companies say the purpose of cloning is not to put many cloned livestock into the food supply. Instead, the goal is to make a genetic copy of a superior animal and then put its offspring into the food supply.
Mindfully.org note: In general, it's advisable to avoid the hazards of this toxic industry that Dean Foods is a leader in. Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is a pretty good new book on the subject of industrial agriculture. Pick up a copy of it soon. In the article above, "Federal scientists say there is virtually no difference between clones and conventional cows, pigs or goats." Our response is that by now most people understand that federal employees — whether or not they are scientists — will say virtually anything they are told to say. Why are cloned animals significantly less healthy than normal animals? This technology, like most of the rest, is about nothing but more profits for corporate hacks and investors. The risk is on the shoulders of those who partake in their products.
What are the risks of cloning? Reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. More than 100 nuclear transfer procedures could be required to produce one viable clone. In addition to low success rates, cloned animals tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection, tumor growth, and other disorders. Japanese studies have shown that cloned mice live in poor health and die early. About a third of the cloned calves born alive have died young, and many of them were abnormally large. Many cloned animals have not lived long enough to generate good data about how clones age. Appearing healthy at a young age unfortunately is not a good indicator of long term survival. Clones have been known to die mysteriously. For example, Australia's first cloned sheep appeared healthy and energetic on the day she died, and the results from her autopsy failed to determine a cause of death.
In 2002, researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reported that the genomes of cloned mice are compromised. In analyzing more than 10,000 liver and placenta cells of cloned mice, they discovered that about 4% of genes function abnormally. The abnormalities do not arise from mutations in the genes but from changes in the normal activation or expression of certain genes.
Problems also may result from programming errors in the genetic material from a donor cell. When an embryo is created from the union of a sperm and an egg, the embryo receives copies of most genes from both parents. A process called "imprinting" chemically marks the DNA from the mother and father so that only one copy of a gene (either the maternal or paternal gene) is turned on. Defects in the genetic imprint of DNA from a single donor cell may lead to some of the developmental abnormalities of cloned embryos.
source: ORNL 7jan2008
Largest U.S. Dairy Shuns Milk from Clones
WASHINGTON — The largest U.S. dairy processor and distributor said even if food products from cloned animals become a reality, it will not sell milk from animals that have been cloned because of ongoing consumer concerns.
Dean Foods Co. said late on Thursday that several surveys have shown their U.S. customers are not interested in buying milk or milk products that come from cloned animals.
"Our decision not to accept this milk is based on meeting our consumers' expectations," the company said in a statement.
"We see no consumer benefit from this technology."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration tentatively ruled late last year that milk and meat from some cloned animals are safe to eat, bringing the controversial technology closer to American grocery carts.
Dean said if the FDA approves the sale of milk from clones it will work with its dairy farmers to ensure the milk they supply to the company does not come from those animals.
Proponents have touted cloned animals as safe and hope the technology will create animals that produce more milk, better meat and are more disease-resistant.
Opinion polls, however, show consumers are more wary. A survey by the International Food Information Council found that more than half of consumers were unlikely to buy food made from cloned animals, no matter what the government says.
Cloning animals involves taking the nuclei of cells from adults and fusing them into egg cells that are implanted into a surrogate mother. Hundreds of livestock animals already have been cloned, but producers and the nascent industry have voluntarily agreed not to sell any foods from these animals until the FDA decision is finalized.