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The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday asked U.S. farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market indefinitely even as Food and Drug Administration officials announced that food from cloned livestock is safe to eat.
Yet even as the two agencies sought a unified message -- that food from clones is safe for people but perhaps dangerous to U.S. markets and trade relations -- evidence surfaced suggesting that Americans and others are probably already eating meat from the offspring of clones.
Executives from the nation's major cattle cloning companies conceded yesterday that they have not been able to keep track of how many offspring of clones have entered the food supply, despite a years-old request by the FDA to keep them off the market pending completion of the agency's safety report.
At least one Kansas cattle producer also disclosed yesterday that he has openly sold semen from prize-winning clones to many U.S. meat producers in the past few years, and that he is certain he is not alone.