15 January 2008

News on the food regulation front

Yesterday the Soil Association (the British organization in charge of certifying organic foods) announced that cosmetics, food and clothing made using nanoparticles will not be classed as organic in the UK.

Today the FDA declared that meat and dairy from cloned animals is safe to eat and will not require any additional labeling in the US. The Wired article notes:

Food producers say they're not about to put cloned meat on American dinner plates, as the procedure is too expensive and inefficient, and a third of U.S. adults say they won't eat cloned meat regardless of its approval. Instead, farmers will purchase cloned animals to serve as breeding stock for their entire herds.

I'm not sure yet how I feel about cloned meat in any form, but I'm disturbed that if/when it arrives, it won't be labeled similarly to the way irradiated meat must be labeled. I expect that we're in for another category of voluntary certification to go alongside 'organic' and 'natural,' capturing this concern about bioengineered food. Here's a question -- how come the dairy industry asked the FDA in the 1990's to allow them to voluntarily label their products rBGH-free, while the meat industry appears to be resisting the mandatory irradiated-meat labels?