An advisory panel to the USDA's National Organic Program has clarified that food labeled as organic should not include products of cloned animals.
After working to figure out appropriate language to deal with the clone issue, the National Organic Standards Board voted almost unanimously at its three-day spring meeting to exclude cloned animals, their offspring, and any food products from cloned animals from the organic sector.
"This vote seeks to plant a flag squarely in the center of the organic food sector, declaring it off limits to cloning while providing consumers a clear choice in the marketplace," says Will Fantle of The Cornucopia Institute.
The Food and Drug Administration has extended the public comment period on its preliminary decision to approve the commercialization of cloning in livestock to May 3. The FDA said in December that it would not seek a label requirement for products from cloned animals.
NOSB serves an advisory role, but its position may add support to a bill introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Herb Kohl, D-Wis., that would outlaw cloned animals and their offspring in organic food production. The bill, S536, is currently in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.