The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued three draft documents detailing the safety of animal clones.

A draft risk assessment concludes that meat and milk from clones of adult cattle and pigs and their offspring are as safe to eat as food from traditionally raised animals. An independent panel of scientific experts in cloning and animal health reviewed the assessment.

The second document, a proposed risk management plan, addresses risks and proposed steps that FDA might take to counter those risks in cloned animals.

A third document from FDA is a draft plan for industry that looks at the use of food and feed products derived from clones and their offspring.

American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) President James Hodges says consumers should be reassured that the FDA’s risk assessment on cloning, like other studies before it, affirms the safety of food products derived from clones and their offspring.

“We agree with the report’s conclusion that the meat and milk from cloned animals are the same as those from conventional animals,” says Hodges. “In our view, cloning is part of the evolution of breeding practices and technology that has significant potential to improve the quality of food products derived from animals.”

However, the AMIF leader says FDA should be cautious about allowing cloned meat products into the marketplace if the majority of consumers don’t favor the technology.

“We urge the government not simply to affirm its safety in the policy arena, but to assist consumers in understanding what cloning is, and what it is not, so that overall consumer confidence in the food supply is maintained,” stresses Hodges.