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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Genetically Engineered Animals Coming to a Farm Near You?

The FDA said it will start considering proposals to sell genetically engineered animals as food, a move that could lead to faster growing fish, cattle that can resist mad cow disease, or perhaps heart-healthier eggs.

One wonders if they could make food safer – E. coli free beef, Salmonella free peppers, Campylobacter free milk, Listeria free chicken hot dogs – you get the picture.

Genetically engineered animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. While clones are exact copies of an animal, genetically engineered animals are manipulated by scientists to bring about a change in their characteristics. In years past, this was done by breeding animals with desirable traits. But now the changes can be made directly in the lab.

Genetically engineered animals are created when scientists insert a gene from one species of animal into the DNA of another animal to reprogam some of its characteristics. For example, fish could be made to grow faster, or pigs might be re-engineered to produce less waste. Animals can also be engineered to produce substances in their milk and blood that can later be used for human drugs.

  • Genetically-engineered animals as a food safety tactic? It is not the breed or type of animal that determines the food safety risk- it is production and processing issues. You can’t engineer an E.coli free cow because that is determined by the feeding practices and the overall external environment of the cow. It seems your suggestions to clean up the food supply are getting a little heavy on futuristic technology (irradiation, genetic-engineering) over common sense, systemic approaches to the problems (reducing the grain-stuffing of cattle for example). I’m scared you might start suggesting eating pills and powders instead of food someday….

  • matt

    Just because we have the ability to play God doesn’t mean we have the right nor the obligation to do so.
    Hopefully this sparks all the consumer interest as irradiated food.
    Call me a luddite, but I just don’t see any benefits that outweigh the risks.
    An informal poll at my farmer’s market revealed that 0% of respondents intend to provide genetically engineered animals next year. I thought that was an amzing coincidence, as just about the same percentage planned to roll out irradiated food.

  • Liz

    Genetically engineering food is simply unnatural. How dare people take matters as serious as this into their own hands! We do not know for sure if this is safe. When people start developing long term effects that are deadly and will permanently destroy DNA, then what?
    …MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING. Animals do not NEED to grow faster nor glow in the dark!
    No matter the reason, it’s unnatural, and unnatural is unsafe! PERIOD!

  • Genetically engineered polar bears are the future of warfare