Food products from cloned and genetically engineered farm animals appear to be safe for consumption. That's the early call from the scientific community. But there's still concern, including the fear that genetically altered animals could escape into the wild and create whole new gene pools.
To now, scientists can only theorize about the likelihood of an unwanted or unexpected spread of new genes. They cite a lack of research into such a possibility. But at least one group of scientists this week took a speculative look.
Genetically modified animals hold the promise of being able to produce pharmaceuticals in their milk and reach market weight in a shorter time. Cloned animals would make it possible to create exact copies of animals that have the most desirable traits.
The National Academy's National Research Council released a report this week outlining their concerns about genetically engineered animals. The report, commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration, states there is no evidence products from genetically engineered or cloned animals are unsafe for human consumption. Even so, the committee felt more study was necessary.
The group of scientists assembled to study the issue had several concerns about GM animals. Topping the list was what would happen if transgenic animals were able to pass their genes on to wild populations.
Next in line was concern about unknown allergic reactions to food products made from GM meats.
Even though the group was not asked to make policy recommendations they did suggest the current framework should be reexamined to more clearly define guidelines and responsibilities.