Food products from cloned and genetically engineered livestock and fish appear to be safe for consumers, according the National Research Council.

This group of scientists evaluated the risks of genetic engineering in response to consumers' concerns that milk and other food products from cloned and altered animals aren't safe for eating and drinking.

The committee found, however, that some genetically engineered animals, such as fish, could pose a problem if the animals escaped, spreading new genes into wild animal populations.

``By identifying these concerns, we hope we can help this technology be applied as safely as possible without denying the public its potential benefits,' said John Vandenbergh, a North Carolina State University zoologist, and NRC committee chairman.

The council stressed in its report that it was asked by the Food and Drug Administration to identify the risks involved in genetically modifying or cloning animals but wasn't asked to review the benefits of the technology.

Associated Press