Sunday, October 19, 2008

Californians to Vote on Prop 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act

This November, voters in California will vote on Proposition 2, a ballot measure that would greatly reduce the suffering of animals raised for food. As factory farms look to generate more and more profit, the animals they house are granted less and less space to live in. Factory farms can cram pigs, cows and calves, and chickens into cages and crates so small that the animals can not even turn around, spread their wings or limbs, or exhibit any of their natural behaviors. These animals can be confined in such cramped quarters for their entire lives. If you saw a neighbor's dog housed in the way our farm animals are, you would likely call the police or the SPCA, so why we do allow such inhumane treatment of animals we raise for food?

Free Range Studios created this short video to support Prop 2, and you can even see Hillary Duff say four words I never expected to hear pass her lips--"Center for Food Safety"--in another supporting video.

What is a Factory Farm? The government calls these facilities Concentrated (or Confined) Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a CAFO as “new and existing operations which stable or confine and feed or maintain for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period more than the number of animals specified” in categories that they list out. In addition, “there’s no grass or other vegetation in the confinement area during the normal growing season.”

According to the EPA, a large CAFO includes 1000 cattle (other than dairy, which is 700), 2500 hogs over 55 pounds, or 125,000 chickens (as long as a liquid manure system isn’t used). A liquid manure system is when the animal’s urine and feces are mixed with water and held either under the facility or outside in huge open air lagoons - these manure systems create a lot of pollution (which many times taxpayers end up paying for). The chickens they refer to are chickens other than laying hens – laying hens must number between 30,000 - 82,000, depending on how the manure is handled.

A medium factory farm (CAFO) has between 300-999 cattle other than dairy (200-699 if dairy), 750-2,499 hogs if 55 pounds or more, and 37,500 to 124,999 chickens (other than hens that lay eggs) if the facility doesn’t use a liquid manure handling system.

Factory farms cut corners and drive family farmers out of business when they put profits ahead of animal welfare and our health. Factory farms have put our health at risk by keeping animals in overcrowded, inhumane conditions. Cramming tens of thousands of animals into tiny cages fosters the spread of animal diseases that threaten human health. Low doses of antibiotics are administered regularly to animals in a preemptive move to ward off the diseases bred by unnatural, unsanitary conditions. In fact, an estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are regularly added to the feed of livestock and poultry that are not sick—a practice with serious consequences for our health; Bacteria that are constantly exposed to antibiotics develop antibiotic resistance. This means that when humans get sick from resistant bacteria, the antibiotics prescribed by doctors don’t work. In addition to preventive medicines, animals are fed hormones and antibiotics to promote faster growth.

Factory farming also hurts our environment and rural communities. The American Public Health Association has called for a moratorium on new factory farms because of the devastating effects these operations can have on surrounding communities. Factory farms often spread waste on the ground untreated — contaminating our waterways, lakes, groundwater, soil, and air.

Prop 2 is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Food Safety, and the California Veterinary Medical Association. For more information on Prop 2, visit the Yes on Prop 2! website.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Banksy hits New York with Pet Store and Charcoal Grill

As if anyone needed any more convincing of the strange genius that is Banksy, the Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill may well do it. In his first attempt at using animatronics, Banksy brings to the West Village a visual smack in the face about factory farming, where our food comes from, and how we treat the animals that provide it.

From fish sticks swimming happily in a fishbowl, to hot dogs in terrariums, to baby chicken nuggets eating barbeque sauce, Banksy's "shop" is unnerving to say the least. Banksy was quoted by the Wooster Collective on the exhibit:

"I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming, but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing."

For you New Yorkers, or those of you excited enough to go, Banksy's Pet Shop will be open 10am to Midnight daily through Halloween. The shop is located at 89 West 7th Avenue.

Photos and Video from the Wooster Collective

Thursday, August 7, 2008


rBST Marketed as Posilac Was Considered Flagship Product of Agricultural Biotechnology

Center for Food Safety and Other Consumer and Farm Groups Declare a Victory for Consumers in “Milk Wars” Over the Use of the Artificial Growth Hormone

Washington, DC, August 6, 2008 – Today, the Center for Food Safety and other consumers and farm groups declared a victory for consumers in the ongoing ‘milk wars’ when the the Monsanto Company announced this morning that it was “pursuing a divestiture of its dairy product, recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), in the upcoming months.” This decision by the biotech giant to drop its line of artificial bovine growth hormones, Monsanto’s first biotech product, comes after a nearly five-year decline in use of rBST, which was marketed under the name “Posilac”.

“What’s happened today could be a great victory for the American consumer,” says Andrew Kimbrell, founder and executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “Monsanto has recognized that consumers have made a choice to avoid milk made with genetically engineered growth hormones, and that the dairies and markets that serve their needs are not buying milk made with their product. They have clearly judged the time right to get out of the failing artificial growth hormone business.”

In 1994, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone, the FDA also said that the following label statement, in proper context, is acceptable: “from cows not treated with rBST.” Last year, Monsanto asked FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to declare these labels to be misleading. In August 2007, the FTC wrote to Monsanto, “The FTC staff agrees with FDA that food companies may inform consumers in advertising, as in labeling, that they do not use rBST.”

Subsequent attempts by Monsanto to ban such labeling at the state level have met with strong resistance from local consumers, advocacy groups, farmers and dairies. Earlier this summer, an overwhelming public backlash forced Pennsylvania Governor Rendell to rescind an order from his Dept. of Agriculture to remove labels from milk identifying it as produced without use of rBGH. A similar rule put forward in Ohio is now under legal challenge by groups representing farmers, dairies and consumers (the Center for Food Safety is a co-plaintiff).

“When Monsanto failed to get the federal government to remove “rBST-Free” labels, they went after states like Pennsylvania and Ohio to ban labels, but they’ve been fought every step of the way,” said Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety. “They have clearly seen and understood that public demand is in favor of transparency and truth when it comes to what’s on our plates.”

Scientists and physicians have long raised questions about the long-term safety of consuming milk from cows treated with rBGH, concerns stemming from the milk’s increased levels of insulin-like growth factor, another powerful hormone. Regulators in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and all 27 nations of the European Union have banned rbGH due to adverse effects on animal health. Cows injected with the hormone show increased risks for infertility and lameness as well as for udder infections, which are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic use on animals is a major cause of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a major public health threat.

Numerous polls show that there is widespread consumer demand for milk produced by cows not treated with artificial hormones and the market is responding to that demand. A June 2007 Consumer Reports National Research Center poll of over 1,000 people nationwide found that 76 percent of consumers were concerned with dairy cows given synthetic growth hormones and 88 percent agreed that milk from cows raised without synthetic bovine growth hormone should be allowed to be labeled as such.

Monsanto’s artificial growth hormone business has been in decline since 2002, according to a recent USDA report. The number of dairy cows injected with rBGH dropped from 22.3 percent of all U.S. cows in 2002 to 17.2 percent in 2007, a nearly 23 percent drop. This trend in response to market demand continues: in 2008, many more dairies have announced that are going rBST-free.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Take a Bite Out of Global Warming!

The Center for Food Safety and the CornerStone Campaign recently launched the Cool Foods Campaign – a new campaign designed to help people reduce their personal contributions to global warming by changing the way they eat.

One way to reduce global warming is to begin with the food we eat. The Cool Foods Campaign educates the public about how their food choices can affect global warming and equips them with the resources they need to reduce their impact. The aim of the Campaign is to inspire a groundswell of informed people committed to making sustainable food choices to reduce their “FoodPrint” (defined as the measure of the impact of the food you consume on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced in the growing, preparation, and transportation of that food).

Is Industrial Agriculture Cooking the Planet?
Did you know that our food system is a major contributor to global warming? The U.S. food system uses between 17-19% of the total energy supply in the country, contributing a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere every day.

On large-scale, modernized industrial farms, greenhouse gases are created numerous ways. Pesticide and fertilizer applications, irrigation, lighting, transportation, and other machinery are powered by greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. The production of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides alone require the equivalent use of over 123 million barrels of oil, making them one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

The overuse of agricultural chemicals pollutes watersheds and kills plants that could otherwise capture greenhouse gases and actually reduce global warming. As the plants decompose they emit methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Methane is also emitted by the 95 million cows raised each year in the United States. The waste from these animals, and 60 million hogs raised every year, are collected and stored in stagnant manure pits which release not only a pungent smell, but more methane.

Once our food is grown it is transported throughout the country to grocery stores and markets. The average American meal has traveled about 1,500 miles before it arrives on your plate. All told, the U.S food system uses the equivalent of over 450 billion gallons of oil every year.

What You Can Do: Reducing Your Carbon FoodPrint
You can have a major influence on global warming by making better food choices, and reducing your FoodPrint. The “Coolest” foods have the lowest FoodPrint and are made without producing excess greenhouse gases. When foods that produce higher FoodPrints – those considered “Hot” – are avoided, we reduce our individual contributions to global warming. An easy way to tell if your food is “Cool” or “Hot” is to ask yourself these 5 basic questions before you buy.

(1) Is this food organic? Organic foods are produced without the use of energy-intensive synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, and they are not genetically engineered or irradiated. To Be Cooler: Buy organic and look for the USDA organic label to ensure that the food you eat is “certified organic.”

(2) Is this product made from an animal? Conventional meats – eg. beef, poultry, pork, dairy, and farmed seafood – are the #1 cause of global warming in our food system. Animals in industrial systems are fed foods they cannot biologically process and are confined to unhealthy and overcrowded cages – conditions that contribute to malnutrition and disease. In an attempt to keep animals healthy they are sprayed with over 2 million pounds of insecticides every year. They also ingest an astounding 84% of all the antimicrobials, including antibiotics, used annually in the U.S. To Be Cooler: Limit your consumption of conventional meat, dairy, and farmed seafood. Buy organic meat and dairy whenever possible, since these foods are produced without energy-intensive, synthetic pesticides and herbicides, and look for wild (not farmed), local seafood.

(3) Has this food been processed? Compared to whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, processed foods require the use of energy-intensive processes such as freezing, canning, drying, and packaging. To Be Cooler: Do your best to avoid processed foods all together, but “certified organic” processed foods are a good alternative.

(4) How far did this food travel to reach my plate? Transporting food throughout the world emits 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas every year. The average conventional food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store. To Be Cooler: Choose locally produced foods or foods grown as close to your home as possible. Look for country of origin labels on whole foods and avoid products from far away.

(5) Is this food excessively packaged? Packaging materials, like plastic, are oil-based products that require energy to be created and are responsible for emitting 24,200 tons of greenhouse gas every year. To Be Cooler: Buy whole foods. Purchase loose fruits and vegetables (rather than bagged or shrink-wrapped), buy bulk beans, pasta, cereals, seeds, nuts, and grains, and carry your own reusable grocery bags.

Food Choice and Beyond
Want to reduce global warming? Join our “Cool Foods” Campaign and help take a bite out of global warming by changing the way you eat!

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Take a Bite Out of Global Warming

Choose organic foods.
Reduce meat and dairy consumption.
Choose foods with as few ingredients as possible.
Look for locally-produced foods.
Choose foods with as little packaging as possible.
Choose grass-fed beef instead of grain-fed beef.
Cook your own food instead of eating out.
Choose whole foods instead of processed foods.
Look for wild-caught local seafood instead of farm-raised seafood.
Use re-usable bags at the market.
Try to buy your food from farmer’s markets instead of grocery stores.

To keep up-to-date on the Cool Foods Campaign, and for more information about what you can do to lower your FoodPrint, visit our website at


D.C. Circuit Court says "No" to Scotts and Monsanto on Biotech GrassesRuling is Latest in a String of Victories in Which the Center for Food Safety Successfully Challenged Inadequate Oversight of Biotech Crops

A Federal Court of Appeals has tossed out the appeal of Scotts Grass Company, ending a long-running dispute over the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) approval of the open-air field testing of genetically engineered "Round-up Ready" (GE) grasses without assessing any potential environmental impacts. The GE grasses are owned by Scotts Grass Company using patents owned by Monsanto.

In 2007 a federal district court ruled that the USDA's approvals of the tests were illegal because they did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). USDA declined to appeal the decision and instead instituted new NEPA policies for any future field tests. The court also ruled that USDA had to re-assess whether the GE grasses were "noxious weeds" under the Plant Protection Act. Scotts intervened in the case before the lower court's ruling. Scotts then appealed the decision, challenging the plaintiffs' ability to bring the case and the lower court's decision. In March the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the plaintiffs' motion and dismissed the case.

Beyond the significant potential environmental risks of genetically engineered crops, the case is also a strong legal precedent limiting corporate intervenor-defendants' ability to continue legal challenges to government action without the government's involvement.

FDA’s Internal Report Reveals that Consumers Don’t Want Food from ClonesZero Percent of Parents Surveyed Would Feed Food from Clones to their Children

Made Available under a Freedom of Information Act Request and jointly released by the Center for Food Safety, the American Anti-Vivisection Society, Consumers Union, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch and the Humane Society of the United States, a report commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that the public does not want food from cloned animals, nor would they feed milk or meat from cloned animals to their children. The report, “Focus Groups on the Public’s Perception on the Health Risk Associated with Products from Animal Clones,” was written by the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The FDA focus group survey, conducted in 2005, states that “more than half of the participants across the board said that they would not want to eat food derived from clones.” Significantly, the FDA survey found that all those “participants who have children said that they would not give such food to their children.” The opinion survey also found many participants had serious health and ethical concerns about both clones and their offspring.

Despite the results of this focus group report and other reputable surveys showing high consumer concerns and an unwillingness to buy food from cloned animals regardless of FDA approval, in January the FDA issued its risk assessment approving food from cloned animals and their offspring for human consumption without requiring labeling.

California Supreme Court Victory in Farm Raised Salmon CasesCenter for Food Safety, which Filed a Friend of the Court Brief in the Case, Applauds the Decision as Vindicating the Consumers' Right to Know

The Supreme Court of the State of California in February issued a decision in the Farm Raised Salmon Cases, overturning a California Court of Appeal ruling. California citizens sued various grocery stores alleging the stores violated California's Sherman Law labeling requirements by selling artificially colored farmed salmon without labeling it as "color added" as required by law.
The suit focused on two chemical dyes applied to farmed salmon sold in supermarkets (without the pink dyes, the farmed fish would have appeared grey in color). The artificial dyes, canthaxanthin and astaxanthin, pose significant health risks. These dyes have been linked to several human health problems, including impaired vision and retinal damage, cancer, and hyperactivity in young children.

The suits - filed against several California grocery chains – were initially dismissed by the California Court of Appeal, which ruled that federal labeling law preempts citizen enforcement of equivalent California state laws aimed at protecting human health and safety. The California Supreme Court's ruling concluded that the lower courts erred in taking away the citizens' right to enforce California's crucial food safety law.

New Study Concludes GM Crops Increase Pesticide Use, Fail to Alleviate Poverty and Have Not Reduced World Hunger

Genetically modified (GM) crops have led to a large increase in pesticide use and have failed to increase yield or tackle world hunger and poverty, revealed a new report by Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety. The report coincided with the annual release of biotech industry figures on GM crop cultivation around the world.

"The biotech industry tells Africans that we need GM crops to tackle the food needs of our population. But the majority of GM crops are used to feed animals in rich countries, to produce damaging agrofuels, and don't even yield more than conventional crops," said Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International's GMO coordinator in Nigeria.

"For years, the biotech industry has been trumpeting the benefits of GM crops, but this report shows the true emerging picture," added Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. "These crops really promote greater use of pesticides, and cause direct harm to the environment and small farmers. More and more, foundations and international aid and development organizations are recognizing the dead end that GM crops represent."
The report, "Who Benefits from GM Crops?: The Rise in Pesticide Use," found thatGM crops do not tackle hunger or poverty; GM crops increase pesticide use and foster spread of resistant "superweeds;" Overall, GM crops do not yield more and often yield less than other crops; and that GM crops benefit the biotech industry and some large growers, not small farmers. Download the report at

Milk Wars: rBGH-Free Labeling Under Attack

Several large dairy producers and food companies have made news recently by getting rid of recombinant bovine growth hormone, also known as rBGH or rBST, from their milk supply. Even retail giant Wal-Mart has announced that all of their Great Value brand milk will now come solely from cows not treated with rBGH. While this is great news for consumers, since this genetically engineered growth hormone is known to cause harm to cows and may pose health risks to humans, Monsanto (the company that makes rBGH under the brand name Posilac) has not taken the news as well.

FDA approved the use of voluntary labels more than 12 years ago at the request of dairy companies seeking to respond to customer concerns over the use of the genetically engineered hormone. Last year Monsanto pressured the FDA to restrict the use of labels identifying "rBGH-free" or "rBST-free" dairy products, but FDA rightly refused to do so. In late August 2007, the FTC wrote to Monsanto, "The FTC staff agrees with FDA that food companies may inform consumers in advertising, as in labeling, that they do not use rBST." Since Monsanto could not convince the Feds to ban these labels, they have taken their fight to the state level.

Under the guise of protecting consumers from misleading information, states all over the country are considering restricting or banning dairy producers from labeling milk as produced without recombinant bovine growth hormone, which would eliminate consumers’ right to know what’s in their dairy products. Many consumers object to this hormone, known as rBGH or rBST, and these proposed regulations actually take away farmers' right to free speech and censors the truthful information consumers want and need. Such rules have thankfully been dismissed in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and New Jersey due to overwhelming consumer opposition, but Ohio recently passed such an unfortunate rule.

The long-term health impacts of rBST are not yet understood, and families with young children understandably want to avoid synthetic hormone use. In fact, an April 2007 Lake Research Partners' national survey conducted for Food and Water Watch shows that eight in ten adults (80%) feel dairy products originating from cows that have not been treated with rBGH should be allowed to be labeled as such.

As Laura Fortmeyer, a Kansas farmer and boardmember of the Kansas Rural Center put it: "As a Kansas farmer, I should be able to produce and promote products that respond to desires in the marketplace. As a Kansas consumer, I want a lot more information about the food I buy-where it comes from and how it's raised-not less. If milk producers and processors are willing to make the effort to provide the rBGH-free milk that I am looking for, they deserve my business.”
Without labeling to provide that information, Laura and all the rest of us will be left shopping in the dark.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Enjoy those sweets while you can!

This Valentine’s Day, as you open up that heart-shaped box of candy and taste those chocolate covered crèmes, nougats and truffles, enjoy them. And unless you’re one of the few who doesn’t eat chocolate, there’s no denying that sugar is the taste of Valentine’s Day.

Sadly, biotech companies want to take the sweets we know and love away from us.

Sugar in our Valentine’s candy (and our cereal, granola bars, crackers, bread – anything that contains sugar) comes from several sources, including sugar beets. In fact, about half of the sugar used in the U.S. is beet sugar (the other half is cane sugar). In the next few weeks, sugar beet seed farmers throughout the U.S. will be considering what type of sugar beets to plant, and food companies will have to decide what types of sugar they will accept.

A new option available this year is Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beet, genetically engineered to survive direct application of the weed killer, Roundup. Unlike traditional breeding, genetic engineering creates new life forms that would never occur in nature, creating new and unpredictable health and environmental risks. To create GE crops, genes from bacteria, viruses, plants, animals, and even humans, have already been inserted into our common food crops, like corn, soy, and canola. Now the biotech industry has taken aim at our sugar.

At the request of Monsanto, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased the allowable amount of glyphosate residues on sugar beetroots by a whopping 5000%. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, sugar is extracted from the beet’s root. The inevitable result is more glyphosate pesticide in our sugar. This is not good news for those who want to enjoy their sweet treats without the threat of ingesting toxic weed killer.
In 2001, Hershey’s, M&M Mars, and American Crystal Sugar told consumers they would not use genetically engineered sugar. But now that sugar beets are close to being planted commercially, they have made no such assurances.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Victory on rBGH Labeling in Pennsylvania!

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has backed down from a controversial ban on the use of labels on milk products. The agency had issued new rules in October, set to go into effect February 1st that would have barred dairy companies or milk producers from labeling their products as from cows not treated with rBGH. PDA argued that a misleading impression might be conveyed by identifying milk as coming from cows not treated with synthetic hormones. Pennsylvania would have been the first state to implement such a labeling ban.

The ban was rescinded yesterday after a review by Pennsylvania Governor Rendell due to consumer outcry.

Though labels are once again permitted to mention that hormones were not used, the standards require a disclaimer stating that the FDA has found no difference in milk from cows injected with the synthetic hormone and milk from cows that are not injected. Such disclaimers already are printed on many dairy products. The new regulations also require dairies to maintain procedures to verify any production methods claimed on their labels, including keeping a paper audit trail. (Read "State Revises Hormone Label for Milk", The New York Times for more information)

Pennsylvania was the first state to consider putting such a labeling ban in place, but other states including Washington, Missouri, and Ohio, seem to be following suit by considering regulations similar to those which Pennsylvania abandoned today. New Jersey had until recently taken the matter under consideration but has since determined not to take action.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled that rbGH use is safe, serious human and animal health questions remain, and it has been prohibited in Canada and the European Union. U.S. consumers have shown they prefer rBGH-free products, and that they want them labeled as such. In fact, an April 2007 Lake Research Partners national survey shows that eight in ten adults (80%) feel dairy products originating from cows that have not been treated with rBGH should be allowed to be labeled as such.

A broad coalition of groups including consumers, dairies, farming groups, and environmental organizations requested the changes announced today. (You can read the letter here)
Stay tuned for updates and actions on similar labeling bans in other states. If you have not already, please consider sending an email and making a call to Ohio Governor Strickland on this issue as well!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Against the will of Congress and the American public, FDA approves food from cloned animals

FDA Opens "Pandora's Box" by Approving Food from Clones for Sale

(January 15, 2008) Today, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) condemned the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) irresponsible determination that milk and meat from cloned animals are safe for sale to the public. In addition, the FDA is requiring no tracking system for clones or labeling of products produced from clones or their offspring. This action comes at a time when the U.S. Senate has voted twice to delay FDA's decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies can be completed by the National Academy of Sciences and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

"The FDA's bullheaded action today disregards the will of the public and the Senate - and opens a literal Pandora's Box," said Andrew Kimbrell, CFS Executive Director. "FDA based their decision on an incomplete and flawed review that relies on studies supplied by cloning companies that want to force cloning technology on American consumers. FDA's action has placed the interests of a handful of biotech firms above those of the public they are charged with protecting."

With FDA's release of their controversial risk assessment today, CFS joins dozens of other food industry, consumer, and animal welfare groups, as well as federal lawmakers in calling for swift action on the part of Congress to pass the 2007 Farm Bill containing provisions delaying FDA's release of clones into the food supply. The Farm Bill currently contains an amendment, advanced by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD.) and co-sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), requiring a rigorous and careful review of the human health and economic impacts of allowing cloned food into America's food supply. The Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill by a vote of 79 to 14.

"The passage of this bill with the Mikulski-Specter amendment sends a strong message that the FDA has failed the public again by taking an inadequate and half-baked look at the safety of food products from cloned animals and their offspring," said Joseph Mendelson, CFS Legal Director. "The FDA's cavalier approach to cloned food and its potential impacts calls for the remedy of a truly rigorous scientific assessment, and Congress has now repeatedly called for such action."
The Farm Bill amendment addresses the gaps and inadequacies of the FDAs current risk assessment, and would go into effect before any food products from clones are marketed. The Farm Bill also directs the USDA to examine consumer acceptance of cloned foods and the likely impacts they could have on domestic and international markets. (Click here for more information on this amendment). Senator Mikulski also released a statement today condemning the FDA's approval of food from clones.

Additionally, the FDA is today issuing a guidance document for food producers; It fails to require any special procedures for tracking or handling food products from clones. It also fails to require labeling of any kind on food products from clones or their offspring, which deprives consumers of their right to know about the origins of their food.

Recently, two cloning companies - Viagen and Trans Ova, proposed the creation of a voluntary cloning registry program. While they advanced claims that the registry would provide consumer protection and transparency without regulation, clones and their progeny will still be dispersed through the food system without any tracking or labeling.

"The cloning industry's proposal is simply another attempt to force cloned milk and meat on consumers and the dairy industry by giving the public phony assurances," said Mendelson. "The proposal neither provides new studies on the safety of clones nor protects the consumers' right to know whether their food or dairy contains products from clones. Once clones are released into America's food supply without any traceability requirements, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to recall them."

Recent opinion polls show the majority of Americans do not want milk or meat from cloned animals in their food. A December 2006 poll by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers were uncomfortable with animal cloning. A national survey conducted this year by Consumers Union found that 89 percent of Americans want to see cloned foods labeled, while 69 percent said that they have concerns about cloned meat and dairy products in the food supply. A recent Gallup Poll reported that more than 60 percent of Americans believe that it is immoral to clone animals, while the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology found that a similar percentage say that, despite FDA approval, they won't buy milk from cloned animals.

In its risk assessment of cloned food, the FDA claims to have evaluated extensive peer reviewed safety studies to support its conclusion, yet a recent report issued by CFS, Not Ready for Prime Time, shows the assessment only references three peer-reviewed food safety studies, all of which focus on the narrow issue of milk from cloned cows. What is even more disturbing is that these studies were partially funded by the same biotech firms that produce clones for profit.

Read the Washignton Post article on FDA's approval

View FDA's documents released January 15th

Read the executive summary of the Center for Food Safety's report Not Ready for Prime Time
Read the full CFS report.