Washington, DC - The Food and Drug Administration today declared that cloned and other genetically modified livestock are "probably" fit for human consumption.
After years of experiments, analysis and rigorous taste testing, the FDA has concluded that foods from cloned animals is indistinguishable from other their naturally bred counterparts.
Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine appeared confident as he spoke to the media. "The meat, milk and other products gotten from these cloned animals is every bit as safe and delicious as the foods we eat every day," he said. "The only difference, is that there will be more to go around!"
Given the recent spate of food-borne illness, some questioned whether Mr. Sundlof's statement was appropriate. "The Food and Drug Administration has been asleep at the switch when it comes to food safety," said U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D) of Connecticut, whom many expect will chair the agriculture subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee in the next Congress. "Given their inability to detect feces in prepared foods, I'm not so sure I trust them to evaluate the safety of genetically modified animals."
Mr. Sundlof dismissed these concerns by suggesting that Ms. DeLauro was probably just "being a baby." "Whaa, whaa, whaa," he mimicked, "my name is Rosa and I hate science and farmers and good food. I wish everyone everywhere would just go back to eating roots and berries. Seriously," he continued, "I think that the liberals need to just stop all of their whining and belly-aching and accept the fact that cloning is the wave of the future. And don't even get me started on the G**d**n Europeans. That bunch of limp-wristed gas bags wouldn't know a cloned sheep if they were f**king one."
Told of his subordinates off-color comments, Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., who became the the 20th Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on December 13, 2006, tried to provide some context for the remarks. "I think what Stephen was trying to say," he began, "is that our research has demonstrated no risk beyond that which is already obvious in America's larder. As is the case with all of our foodstuff, I would say - and I'm sure Stephen would back me up on this - that cloned and genetically modified foods are probably 'safe-ish' to eat. As for the bizarre sexual proclivities of European health officials, I leave that to your imagination."
For many, the most troubling aspect of the FDAs conclusions is that it permits a certain percentage of human genetic material in foods designated for human consumption. Joseph Mendelson, legal director for the Center for Food Safety was particularly disturbed. "Human genetic material?," he asked rhetorically, "do they mean that a little semen will be permitted in ranch dressing? Or that we might be eating some weird human/cow hybrid in the future. In either case you can count me out. Just disgusting."
The Consumer Federation of America issued a statement saying that they will demand strict labeling guidelines be put in place before any cloned products enter the produce or livestock supply chain. "The old adage, 'you are what you eat,' is still true," the statement read in part, "and people ought to know what they are being turned into by eating these crazy, new, and potentially semen-infused, 'Frankenfoods'."
Barb Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization lamented yet another instance of what she termed "the nanny state." "Good God," she said, "This food is a good and delicious and nutritious and wholesome and flavorful and wonderful as anything you could dream of. Putting labels on things sends the wrong message to consumers, it says, 'be careful, I'm different, fear me,' and I don't think the U.S. Government needs to be in the business of fear-mongering."
Farmers and ranchers are also applauding the news saying it will allow them to produce higher-quality livestock at lower costs. Elton Murphy, a sheep rancher from Wyoming says he is looking forward to being able to enjoy greater profits. "I think it's just great," he explained, "if I can squeeze a few more cents out of a cloned lamb than a real one just show me where to sign."