January 15/Washington/PR Newswire -- International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) president and CEO Connie Tipton today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a continuation of the moratorium on milk and food from cloned animals:

"We applaud Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Connor for his common sense decision to continue the moratorium on milk from cloned animals while USDA and other government agencies review the implications that the approval of this niche technology would have on trade and public health. Numerous surveys reveal that consumers are not comfortable with the idea of buying milk from cloned cows, and more time is needed for the American public to gain a better understanding of this new technology.

"U.S. dairy exports have grown significantly during the past few years, reducing the cost of government support programs. However, milk and food from cloned animals have not been approved for consumption in most countries that are importing our products. Therefore, it would be prudent to wait until all major foreign trading partners have reviewed and approved the same cloning technology in their respective countries.

"Moving too fast on this technology without a thorough and deliberative dialogue at all levels could also unintentionally lead to reduced domestic consumption of milk, a nutrient-dense food that is an excellent source of nine essential nutrients, including protein and calcium. USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least three daily servings of dairy as part of a healthy diet.

"We are reassured that the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that there are no health or safety issues with food from cloned animals. During the moratorium, we encourage the biotechnology industry to work with consumers to help them gain a full understanding of the technology."

From the January 21, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash