Iowa Public Television


Producers, Consumers Face Clone Quandary

posted on December 22, 2006

For nearly four years, Maryland dairy farmer Greg Wiles has poured milk from his cloned cows down the drain in compliance with a voluntary ban on food from cloned livestock.

Now in financial straits, Wiles says he may be forced to sell his cloned cows for hamburger.

The Food and Drug Administration says that's probably safe, but pressure from the food industry has kept the agency from approving it. Milk and meat marketers worry that consumers won't accept food from cloned animals.

The failure, so far, to approve cloned animals for the food supply raises a quandary for consumers. The federal government has no way to stop farmers such as Wiles from selling meat or milk from cloned animals. That means no one can be sure the food supply is free of them.

The dairy industry says there are at least 150 livestock clones living in the United States. A single dairy cow makes about 128 glasses of milk a day. A single dairy cow also can be turned into 3,000 hamburger patties.

Consumer advocates say the government should never have let cloned animals live on commercial farms in the first place.

Tags: agriculture animals cloning controversy dairy genetic engineering livestock meat news