The Food and Drug Administration is expected to declare as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring are safe to consume, the Wall Street Journal reported without naming its source.
The FDA had asked producers of cloned livestock not to sell food products from such animals pending its ruling on their safety. It is not clear whether the FDA will lift this voluntary hold, the report said.
While many consumer groups still oppose it, the FDA declaration that cloned animal products are safe would be a milestone for a small cadre of biotech companies that want to make a business out of producing copies of prize dairy cows and other farm animals.
Because of the price tag -- cloned cattle cost $15,000 to $20,000 per copy --most of the cloned animals will be used for breeding, and it will be three to five years before consumers see milk and meat from their offspring.
Consumer wariness toward cloned food may lead to a backlash from opponents in Congress and other markets, such as the European Union, who are concerned that not enough data are available for a viable study on the safety of the products. There are also ethical worries because cloned animals tend to have more health problems at birth than conventionally bred animals, the report added.