Report: Government Needs to Monitor Biotech Animal Food

WASHINGTON - Food and biomedical products from cloned and genetically engineered animals pose no significant health risks, but stronger U.S. government oversight must be implemented to ensure its safety, a National Academy of Sciences panel said on Tuesday.

The report, which was commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration, suggests that the federal government needs to balance addressing people's concerns with allowing the technology to advance.

In a broad one-year study of animal biotechnology, researchers said there was a "low probability" consuming food from cloned livestock would trigger allergic reactions.

The panel wasn't asked to recommend policy changes, but it said the three agencies monitoring biotechnology -- the FDA, the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency -- need to toughen guidelines and clearly define their responsibilities.

Genetically engineered animals could become an environmental problem should they escape, squeezing out their relatives in the wild by taking control of the food supply and wiping out weaker animals, the group said.

The FDA is considering whether cloned animals will require government approval before they can be sold for food. Farmers and companies owning cloned animals aren't allowed to sell the animals until the debate is resolved.
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