Why Am I Hearing About Cloned Chinese Beef?

You may have recently heard about cloned Chinese beef in the news and have questions. You can find the answers to commonly asked questions about meat from cloned animals below.

Does cloned beef exist in China?

In China, cattle will be cloned to enter the Chinese meat supply. Chinese scientists have determined that cloning cattle could help increase the availability of protein in China because they don’t have enough meat for their growing population.

Am I eating cloned meat?

It is highly unlikely that you will encounter meat from cloned animals in the United States for several reasons. First, and perhaps most importantly, the United States does not import meat from China; so you will not find cloned Chinese beef in the U.S. meat supply. While there are some cloned cattle in the United States, these clones are primarily utilized to produce elite breeding stock or animals that have great genetic traits, not for animals that are raised for food. These high-quality breeding stock are very expensive, so it doesn’t make business or financial sense for those animals to be raised for food.

Beef cattle

Are cloned animals safe to eat?

Yes. After an extensive study of animal cloning and food safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats, or their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals. These conclusions can be found in the FDA’s Animal Cloning: A Risk Assessment and are based on FDA findings that “the composition of food products from cattle, swine and goat clones, or the offspring of any animal clones, is no different from that of conventionally bred animals.”

Does cloned meat have a label?

There is no mandatory label for meat from cloned animals – the FDA has found no science-based reason to require labels to distinguish between products from clones and products from conventionally raised animals. However since cloned animals in the U.S. are used primarily for breeding purposes, the likelihood of consuming cloned animal products is very low.

You can be confident in the safety of U.S. beef and that America’s beef community is committed to providing high quality beef products that you demand.

 

Comments

  1. Having personally worked with cloned cattle I can say that I am more concerned about eating beef imported from China than I am with eating beef from a clone. Beef from cloned cattle was consumed by individuals who worked with clones before that meat was allowed in retail and rendering markets. That was simply because there was nowhere to go with the meat without letting it go to waste (in other words composting an animal that could otherwise be utilized for consumption).

    Knowing that a clone is simply a genetic twin of the donor that was born at a different time means that in regards to production and safety the meat is exactly the same as traditional beef. As long as it is harvested in the approved manner with the same concern paid to withdrawal periods, animal handling, and food inspection/safety there is no difference.

    I trust that U.S. beef is the safest, most nutritious and most wholesome product that we can get. I don’t know how other countries regulate meat production, but I do know that the U.S. does everything possible to make sure everything is done right when it comes to food production and safety.

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