Cloned food safe for consumption, says US

Cloned food safe for consumption, says US  Just over a decade after scientists cloned the first animal, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared that meat and milk from cloned farm animals are safe to eat.

The announcement comes after a six-year-long study by the US Food and Drug Administration, which says food derived from cloned cows, pigs, goats and their offspring is "as safe to eat as products from conventionally bred livestock'.

Although the use of cloned meat for consumption has now been given the approval by the USDA, officials say testing for safety will continue and it will take quite some time before the chops and steaks from cloned livestock hit the market shelves. USDA says it needs some more time to educate retailers as well as consumers before they face their choice.

Industry has been holding off selling food products from clones since 2001. Even after the ban is lifted, analysts say, it is unlikely that the food will be popular, because the technology is too expensive. US $15,000 or more per cloned animals.