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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine


by Denise Caruso ~ February 3, 2007.
Permalink | Filed under: Hybrid Vigor, 21st Century Risk, Policy and Decisions, Planetary Life.

Whoops, I forgot to post this … the San Jose Mercury News asked me to write a Perspectives piece for the Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago (specifically, January 21st) about the F.D.A.’s decision about cloned meat. The issue isn’t going away, so I figured better late than never …

Here’s the first few paragraphs, to inspire you to click …

Cloned meat: What are the risks?
By Denise Caruso
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared unequivocally last month that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe to eat. But the assessment process used to make that declaration could in no way reliably conclude that cloned food is safe — and they knew it. The FDA’s own science and risk advisers had long ago told the agency so, but it ignored the warnings.

As recently as 2004, the U.S. National Academies, official science advisers to the government, published a report concluding that the FDA’s and other regulators’ decision-making processes for assessing food safety were flawed and outdated. The report said the methods and techniques used to make these assessments are not sophisticated enough to predict and identify unintended effects from genetically engineered food. The report included cloned food in that assessment.

What’s more, the report strongly recommended that the agencies “enhance [their] capacity for post-market surveillance'’ of genetically engineered and cloned food. In other words, they ought to start monitoring the release of those foods, labeling products derived from them in the marketplace, and deploying far better animal-identification and tracking systems, so that any unexpected health problems could be traced to the source.

Yet regulators, including the FDA, have followed few if any of the study’s sensible recommendations. The FDA’s public statement on the safety of cloned animals certainly didn’t mention these noteworthy and significant shortcomings in its assessment methods.

UPDATE: I also forgot to note that Baruch Fischhoff at Carnegie Mellon sent me a related link, with this note attached:

A few hundred BBC readers comment on eating cloned food. Not so stupid — or at least smarter than those who call them stupid.


  1. honest human

    […] “Intervention: Confronting the Real Risks of Genetic Engineering and Life on a Biotech Planet” offers a profoundly persuasive and endlessly disquieting portrait of the risks our species is blindly taking with biotechnology. Could the introduction of genetically modified products into our environment be responsible for seemingly disconnected problems — like, say, the strange disappearance of much of the honeybee population? Is meat from cloned animals really as safe as the Food and Drug Administration maintains? […]

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