The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tentatively determined that milk and meat from cloned cows are safe to eat and indistinguishable from non-cloned cows. The agency may complete approval procedures for consumption of the animals and milk before the end of 2007. The International Dairy Foods Association has conducted polls showing that unlabeled cloned products might turn customers away from all meat and dairy products. But the report prompted kudos from biotech firms and some farmers, who have created several hundred cloned cows. Dolly the sheep, born in Scotland in 1996, was the first such animal. PR Watch reported in 1999 that cloning for purposes of food consumption often has been promoted by industry at the expense of adequate scientific study. Seven U.S. Senators have written a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt seeking a "careful, deliberative and open process" before the government allows such animals into the U.S. food supply. The "no distinguishable difference" finding by the FDA currently prevents the agency from requiring labels, and biotech firms such as Monsanto have sued businesses that seek to differentiate natural products from synthetic ones.
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