Monday, January 21, 2008

Sound Off! What do YOU think?

I haven't posted on this topic, waiting for the now released FDA approval of the use of meat and milk from cloned animals safe for human consumption. Thanks to Celsias for the reference to this quote from Michael Pollan in the NY Times.
“I think the bigger concern with cloned animals is not personal health.
It’s what will it take to keep a herd of genetically identical
chickens, horses or pigs alive? Sex and variation is what keeps us from
getting wiped out by microbes. If everything is genetically identical,
one disease can come along and wipe out the entire group. You will need
so many antibiotics and so much sanitation to keep a herd of these
creatures going. The bigger concern should be antibiotic resistance.” —
NY Times
I can't think of any way to "prove" that these products are not indistinguishable from non-cloned versions of the food, but something about this just doesn't fill me with reassurance. We already have monoculture crops with little genetic diversity, is the rest of the food supply about to follow in search of the perfect docile, high yielding milk or beef cattle. And how long till someone is tinkering with those clones to improve upon them, yet they'll still be indistinguishable.

For a long time, I thought nothing of GM foods, since humans have been practicing genetic control and hybridization since the origin of agriculture. (check out the history of corn for example). However, the more I learn about how GM foods are being developed and the traits that are being engineered, I'm much less sanguine about consuming any produce that is on offer at the market.

What do you think?