It’s Just Plain Goofy
Pamela Accetta Smith
Senior Editor
(847) 405-4069

When I asked “What’s Next?” back in my November column, I never in a million years thought the biotech folks would be fighting for organic labeling on products produced from cloned cows.
Now ask yourself this question out loud: Can food from cloned animals be called organic? You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound strange. Visions of “Blade Runner” are dancing in my head. A window into our bleak over-processed, over-teched, nothing-in-its-original-form future? Uh, yes.
According to an article in the Washington Post, this question is one being raised by scientists, activists and government bureaucrats ever since the FDA concluded in December (after I begged the question “what next?” stating my case that food from replicated four-leggers should never be put on store shelves) that meat and milk from cloned animals should be allowed on the market.
In the opinion of some in the biotechnology arena, the federal definition of organic food would allow them to label food from clones as organic, as long as those clones were raised organically, the Post reports.
Will somebody please walk me through that process?
The mere thought that a clone might earn the coveted organic label makes even the most mild-mannered foodies rabid, the article continues. “It’s like putting artificial apples in an apple pie,” says Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety, a consumer group in Washington that has petitioned the government to more strictly regulate the sale of clone products for human consumption.
“People would consider that a downright violation of the American way.”
According to officials at the Agriculture Department, the question will not be fully settled until it is considered by an advisory panel, perhaps by this spring. It is predicted then, the Post says, opponents will probably win, and the term “organic clone” will join the ranks of word pairs that simply do not belong together.
I also believe getting approval for this will be especially difficult considering the legal definition of “organic” itself seems to change regularly. No one can even agree on that these days.
Now repeat this 10 times: Raising clones organically.
Goofy, I tell ya, just plain goofy.