FDA Gives Preliminary Approval to Food from Cloned Animals

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal health officials have declared that food from cloned animals is safe to eat.

Agency officials say they don't think special labels will be needed, though that decision is pending.

Final approval won't come until after a three-month public comment period.

A five-year study by the Food and Drug Administration found that by the time cloned livestock reach six to 18 months old, they are "virtually indistinguishable" from conventional livestock. The director of veterinary medicine at the agency calls meat and milk from the clones as safe as "the food we eat every day."

But, consumer advocates say the FDA assessment may be hasty. The Consumer Federation of America says the agency is ignoring research that shows cloning results in more deaths and deformed animals than other reproductive technologies.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)