Academics, food industry representatives and consumer groups are set to debate the safety of meat, eggs and other foods from cloned animals next week, at a National Research Council (NRC) meeting.

From the NRC, a body developed to advised the public on scientific matters, Kim Waddell told USA Today: “Animal biotechnology science is ramping up quite rapidly […] A lot of the products we’ll be discussing weren’t even imagined a few years ago.”

At the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has asked companies not to introduce cloned animals into the food chain, researchers will conduct a public session in Washington on Tuesday to discuss the “science-based” safety issues surrounding animal biotechnology, the status of animal cloning and the areas that require better regulation. Industry representatives will then present proprietary data in closed sessions over the following two days.

Concerns surrounding the issue involve those of animal welfare, particularly genetic abnormalities and high rates of failed pregnancies; the ability of GM insects to overwhelm native species; or the potential threat to human health from cloned animals’ meat or milk.

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