Monday, January 21, 2008

cloned milk in food? in baby formulas?

We have come a long way. The FDA has approved the use of cloned milk and meat unlabeled. It is likely that most people in the US don't understand what that means. And many of those that understand it, believe that the industry doesn't have enough transgenic cows (we also have transgenic pigs, goats, etc) to make it to our dinner table. There is also the belief that cloned milk is only destined to be pharmaceuticals. Wrong. I believe that there has been evidence since 2000 that herds of transgenic cows exist in the US, Canada, Finland, New Zealand.
And there is some evidence to suggest that some transgenic cow herds are not separated from cows who have not had their DNA manipulated.
Which would mean that there would be a strong possibility that the milk from the transgenic cows (cloned milk) would be mixed with the milk of cows who aren't transgenics. Up until the FDA approval, cloned milk and meat were not suppose to be marketed and on your dinner table. The ruling prior to approval, was that milk was to be dumped and meat destroyed. But it was not a mandatory ruling.
We might ask ourselves, why make a ruling on cloned milk and meat, if we don't have herds of transgenics? In the US alot of our food has been genetically engineered without the public's knowledge or consent. So the question would be why would cloning of milk and meat be any different? It has been since 2003 that the FDA has been trying to make a decision on cloned milk and meat. (basing this on a NY Times article by Kristoff regarding his adventure of drinking cloned milk--he states he didn't grow 3 heads).

Some environmentalists believe that cloned milk will only be used as pharmaceuticals. The mammary gland of all mammals (humans included) is considered to be a bioreactor. It can make therapeutic proteins that supposedly will be used in cancer therapies, HIV/AIDS, diseases of all sorts. The problem with using animal proteins on humans is that alot of humans have allergic reactions to the animal protein. Human proteins do not create such reactions. Of course, one might question whether human proteins made within another animal such as a cow is truly human or truly cow. No time to question or debate, onward in the quest for better drugs and greater profits.
But one of the things about our fast-paced, multi-tasking capitalist system is that why have milk you can only use for the pharmaceutical industry? The food industry has created foods that now give us better hearts, smarter brains. So now we have milk that produces human milk proteins, we certainly can claim the benefits of human milk/breastfeeding. And the uses of this cloned milk become even more profitable because they can be used in baby milks, foods, supplements, cosmetics, dental health. Pharming of the Netherlands (their herds are in Finland because not allowed in the Netherlands) has a US patent that tells us the variety of uses for lactoferrin. Patent # 5919913 filed in 1995 called, "Isolation of lactoferrin from milk."
"An advantage of transgenic animals and differential gene expression is the isolation of important proteins in large amounts, especially by economical purification methods. Such proteins are typically exogenous to the transgenic animal and may compromise pharmaceuticals, food additives, nutritional supplements, and the like."
Abbott Labs, pharmaceutical company and their Ross division, infant formula maker, has a 1995 patent. Patent # 5700671 called, "Method of making transgenic animals producing oligosaccharides and glycoproteins."

"...oligosaccharides in human milk inhibit the attachment of harmful microorganisms to the mouth and throat."

"These human oligosaccharides and specifically glycosylated proteins are absent from, or present from, or present in markedly different amounts, in bovine milk."

"As a consequence, infants fed infant formula which comprise cow's milk may be more susceptible to intestinal disturbances such as diarrhea, or their blood plasma amino acid ratios and levels may differ from breast fed infants."

Abbott Labs in another patent (# 5891698) on human milk oligosaccharides made in transgenic animals states another use for these human milk components...diagnostic kits. There is a wide range of uses for cloned milk, and not just in pharmaceutical products. For me the most upsetting part of this is that cloned milk is destined to be used in infant formulas. Infants become the guinea pigs to a new industry.
Copyright 2008 Valerie W. McClain

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