Thursday, December 28, 2006
Ice Cream Clones
The FDA has given preliminary approval for cloned meat and milk products to be sold without special labeling. There will be a 90-day period for public comments. Thus, we can all sit and be treated to the wonderful parade of extremists who claim that these genetically modified foods will bring death, pestilence and war (did I leave out a Horseman?) to all humanity. Listening to the radio this evening, one interviewee claimed that a poll showed that 60% of Americans consider cloned food to be "immoral." I've thought of a Whopper as many things---tasty, fattening, wonderfully inexpensive---but "immoral" is not a word that ever came to mind. Is it unethical that baby carrots must die so that I can live?
Now, I'm not a biologist, geneticist, or nutritionist, but I seriously doubt such foods are the danger that the fearful make them out to be. However, the inquisitive layman and Darwinist in me thinks that cloning could potentially be bad for the cattle business. Mother Nature seems to like her genetic variation and recombinations. If a cattle population shares much of the same genetic material and blueprint, wouldn't that herd be more susceptible to certain unforeseen diseases and illnesses as opposed to a herd with more genetic variation? (Any trolling scientists out there, please chime in)
If all else fails, the frankenfood phobia folk can get the city governments of Chicago and New York City to ban any future produce. "If Thy Rib Eye Offend Thee, Legislate It Out!!"
The economics of cloned meat will be more interesting than the endless harangue of politically motivated speeches. Music producers have often found that when obscenity laced rap and rock music units increase in sales, there is usually a similar increase in the demand for "clean" CDs by those who don't want the potty-mouthed pop. I expect Whole Foods, Wild Oats and other "heath food" chains to make a killing in the coming years with meat and dairy labeled as being "CLONE FREE!!!" to the upscale fearful-but-trendy consumers among us, despite whatever the actual science eventually reveals.
Question to Ragged Thots readers: Do you care if that juicy steak from your favorite restaurant or butcher comes from a clone? Will cloned beef dinners give you indigestion and keep repeating themselves? And will the availability of cloned foods bring new meaning to the phrase "Endless Buffet"?