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There's a strong chance you've eaten cloned meat

Cloned meat

(NaturalNews) On July 5, 1996, scientists at an Edinburgh laboratory in Scotland announced the birth of the world's first cloned mammal. Dolly the sheep instantly made headline news, opening up a new frontier in genetic research. Replicating mammalian life in this way opened up new business avenues for the mass production of "genetically superior" meats.

Just two decades later, the genetic experiment that was Dolly has become a niche market. In the U.S., commercial livestock cloning is big business at Cyagra, based in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, and at ViaGen in Austin, Texas. Together, these geneticists pump a few thousand cloned animals out into the marketplace each year.

Undetected cloned meat slyly making its way to Europe, where it's banned

The consensus in Europe is to keep cloned animals out of the marketplace. The European Union forbids cloning in animal husbandry practices. However, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration permits the practice. In 2008, the FDA actually concluded that "food from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as food from any other cattle, swine or goat."

Since scientists cannot differentiate between conventionally bred animals and their clones, it's impossible for regulatory agencies to make a distinction. For this reason there are no labeling requirements for cloned animals or their offspring. This means that an animal cloned in the U.S. could be sold to Europe without any oversight or public knowledge.

At this point, there's a strong chance you've eaten cloned meat and known nothing about it. Even though cloning is banned in Europe, there's a significant possibility that cloned meat has made its way onto people's plates there too.

Pauline Constant, spokeswoman for the European Office of Consumer Associations, noted: "Without knowing it, Europeans are probably eating meat from the descendants of clones that cannot be traced."

Other countries which allow the cloning of meat are Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Australia.

China pumping out hundreds of thousands of cloned cows for worldwide beef production

Since the birth of Dolly, the duplication of prized breeding animals has only become more popular and streamlined. Even though the success rate is often low, the industry is able to pump out thousands of cloned animals per year.

While it costs nearly $11,000 to clone one animal, the industry isn't aiming to clone each and every animal for mass production. Instead, the industry invests money on the animals with the most outstanding genetics.

According to Aaron Levine, an expert in bioethics and cloning at Georgia Tech, cloned livestock are often introduced into the food supply indirectly by introducing them into breeding stock. In other words, the offspring of the cloned animals may be the meat making its way to your plate.

In China, cloning for food production is even bigger business. Boyalife Group's new factory in Tianjin aims to produce 100,000 cloned cows annually. The business is projected to pump out a million cloned cows per year by 2020.

Boyalife is also experimenting with the replication of genetically superior primates, which can be sold to research groups for more consistent and accurate disease research, and for the production of new vaccines. Boyalife's lead scientist, Xu Xiaochun, has even mentioned his desire to clone humans for research purposes. Upcoming projects also include cloning thoroughbred racehorses and top notch police sniffer dogs.

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