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 May 13, 2005
Cloned Beef, Milk the Same as Regular Cattle's
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Milk and beef derived from cloned cattle are virtually identical to the same products from normally bred cattle, American and Japanese researchers say.

The study compared the chemical composition of milk and meat products from cloned cows with conventionally bred Holsteins. Tests on more than 1,000 samples found no significant differences in levels of protein, fat, lactose, antibodies and other components routinely monitored by the dairy industry, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The findings, described in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are sure to add fuel to the ongoing debate about whether the U.S. government should allow food products from cloned animals.

"This study does not address the big issue, which is, 'Is this what we want to do as a society?' " said Carol Tucker Foreman, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America. "What do we think about having a clone burger?" she asked.

In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences found that meat and milk from cloned cows weren't likely to pose a health problem -- though it warned that it didn't have much scientific data to back up that conclusion. A year later, an expert panel advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came to virtually the same conclusion, the Post said.

Some groups like the Humane Society of the United States have asked for a ban on dairy products from clones, noting that many such animals have died mysterious deaths during gestation or soon after birth, the Post said. Dairy manufacturers say the technology offers them a relatively inexpensive way to copy their best milk and beef cows without diluting those stocks with a mate's inferior genes, the newspaper said.


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