Can You Spot the Clone?
Despite all the concerns about making sure everything we eat is organic and local and free-range, WIRED reports the latest trend in meatpacking is most decidedly not any of those things: cloned meat.
Remember that whole bruhaha about Dolly the cloned sheep and all those other animals crazy scientists from Scotland to Korea started cloning? Well it turns out they weren’t just doing that as a basis to create a Nazi scientist-esque world of human cloning where everyone looks like Brangelina. Apparently, there’s already a lot of money in cloning animals just for the sake of meat production.
The FDA hasn’t approved cloned animal products for sale in this country – not because of any specific health concerns – but just due to the overall creepiness factor.
But the WIRED article reports that plenty of American farmers have already invested in cloning animals. The process is prohibitively expensive, but many farmers think it’ s the way to go. After spending a lifetime looking for that unrivaled stud pig, or finally finding the hottie heifer that churns the creamiest milk, farmers can’t bare to just let their prize animals die off, so they’ve turned to cloning.
The cloned offspring have names that sound like Halo players (Rvnge Fire and Blackrose3, for example) and their clone farmers swear their steaks, milk, and bacon taste just as good – if not better – than the real thing.
And while the FDA drags its feet on approving cloned meat, the Wired article reports some farmers are just passing their already-cloned products into the food stream. They even got one guy, Kansas farmer Don Coover, to admit so much.
Coover says he shipped the rest of his lot to market.
“Wait. You mean into the food chain?” I ask.
“I never worried much about it,” he says. “Unless you tell them it’s a clone, no one can tell.”
After the National Academy of Sciences report in 2002, Coover started selling his own Full Flush progeny to meatpacking plants and hawking clone sperm to a network of undaunted farmers. He calls the idea that the resulting meat might be unsafe to eat “total bullshit.”
“The FDA has never made a decision, but that’s because of politics, not science,” he says. Besides, keeping clone offspring out of the food chain is “impossible to police.”
So no problem. I mean, what harm could ever come out of screwing around with how we produce meat?
So as you pick up that bacon cheeseburger for lunch, just think, you have no idea if it’s father was this guy or this guy.
Wired: Cloned Beef (and Pork and Milk): It’s What’s for Dinner