The US Department of Agriculture told US farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market at the same time that the Food and Drug Administration officials announced that food from cloned livestock is safe to eat. And huge amounts of beef have been recalled in California. What’s going on?

In the Washington Post, Rick Weiss quotes the USDA’s Bruce I. Knight as saying that they are asking for a “voluntary moratorium” in order to buy time for “an acceptance process” that consumers in the US and abroad will need, “given the emotional nature of this issue?simply allowing the time for an orderly transition to occur.” However, it’s unlikely that the European Union will EVER approve the importation of meat made from cloned animals, so that “transition” may never occur. Japan already refuses to import US meat due to our lax standards for detecting Mad Cow Disease.

BBC News reports that the US Department of Agriculture has ordered the largest beef recall in the history of the USDA from a California meat plant. 143 million pounds of meat are being recalled, but it’s probably too late, since most of the meat has already been eaten?most of it in hamburgers prepared for school lunch programs.

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