Bovance, the U.S. cattle cloning company formed in 2007 as a joint venture between ViaGen and Trans Ova Genetics, says it supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Risk Assessment Final Report, released on Jan.15.
The report confirms that milk and meat from animals produced through cloning is safe for human consumption and does not pose a safety risk to the global food supply.
After six years of extensive study, the analysis of more than 400 comprehensive studies, and the evaluation of hundreds of nutritional and compositional data points, the FDA found no differences among clones, offspring of clones and conventionally bred animals. This follows two reviews by the National Academy of Sciences that came to the same conclusion.
The FDA previously announced a preliminary risk assessment on Dec. 28, 2006. A three-month period of public comment followed this announcement, allowing producers and consumers to express comments before this final ruling was formulated.
“We applaud the rigorous scientific analysis and public opinion studies on the matter,” says Mark Walton, ViaGen president. “We all want to know that our food supply is safe, and today’s announcement aids in providing that assurance.”
“The findings of the FDA study were as we expected,” says David Faber, president of Trans Ova Genetics. “Confirming the safety of meat and milk produced from clones and their offspring is an important step for food production in the U.S. and around the world. We feel that the FDA study and its findings clear the way for dairy and beef producers to continue their leadership and stewardship of producing a healthy, humane global food supply.”
Bovance supports and is pleased with the FDA’s finding that clones and their sexually reproduced offspring are as safe as conventionally produced foods, adds Faber. “While the USDA has requested that Bovance and its clients assist with an orderly transition on clone animals, it has clearly given the green light for the offspring to enter the marketplace.”
The use of cloning technology to propagate the most elite and valuable animals has the potential to significantly and positively change the cattle breeding industry, says Diane Broek, general manager of Bovance. “Though the number of animals produced through this technology is expected to remain relatively small, the offspring of these animals — produced through conventional breeding processes — will have a positive contribution to our meat and milk supply.”
To provide further assistance to food processors wishing to identify food products from clone animals themselves, Trans Ova Genetics and ViaGen teamed together to announce a Supply Chain Management Program.
Debuted in December 2007, this program offers a national registry to track animals produced through cloning from birth to the end of their life. The program was developed with extensive cooperation and input from all critical participants in the food supply chain, including representatives of the beef, dairy and pork industries, as well as producers, processors, grocers and food service providers.