WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The following is a statement by International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Connie Tipton regarding the Food and Drug Administration's Draft Risk Assessment on Milk and Meat From Cloned Animals:

"America's dairy companies are committed to the safety and wholesomeness of milk and dairy products. While we are reassured that FDA's draft review finds no health or safety issues with food from cloned animals, we support FDA's decision to maintain the moratorium on milk and meat from cloned animals entering the food supply during the public comment period.

"Animal cloning is a relatively new technology, and it's important that we have a thorough, deliberative dialogue where people can openly discuss any concerns they may have.

"Cloning is a niche-market technology. It remains to be seen whether dairy farmers will choose to use it. There currently is no consumer benefit in milk from cloned cows. In addition, there are very few cloned dairy cows in this country -- only about 150 cows out of the 9 million total U.S. dairy cows. Many of these are "show" animals.

"Consumers have expressed concerns about buying food from cloned animals. Once FDA has finalized its review, it will be up to individual companies to decide on the marketing of products made from milk from cloned cows.

"We look forward to reviewing the draft Risk Assessment and commenting as necessary to FDA."

The International Dairy Foods Association, Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 530 companies representing a $90-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation, the National Cheese Institute, and the International Ice Cream Association. IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.

SOURCE: International Dairy Foods Association via PR Newswire.