Twenty food companies have committed to not using or supplying milk or meat from cloned livestock. The companies, including Smithfield Foods, Kraft Foods, Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods, were responding to a survey conducted by the Center for Food Safety, a consumer group that opposes animal cloning. Polls have shown that consumers are uncomfortable with the idea of eating products from cloned livestock. The ban does not include offspring of clones.

A Kraft spokesman, says the company has told suppliers it will accept only ingredients from conventional animals. "The surveys we've seen indicate that consumers aren't receptive to ingredients from cloned animals," says Basil Maglaris, with Kraft. For now, the company’s pledge applies only to cloned animals. Maglaris points out that the company will monitor consumer reactions to the idea of products from clones' offspring. Similarly, other companies are taking the same approach.

However, CFS officials cite eight surveyed companies that indicated they would not knowingly use food from the offspring of clones. These companies include the organic retail cooperative PCC Natural Markets in the Seattle area, and Unilever's Ben & Jerry's. The ice-cream maker is pushing the U.S. government to create a national registry for clones and their offspring.

The International Dairy Foods Association reports that it isn't ready to embrace products made from cloned animals or their offspring. A Ben & Jerry's spokesperson, says the company isn't planning to carry its clone-free status on its ice-cream cartons. Rather, it will rely on the Center for Food Safety other such groups to publicize it. CFS has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require labeling on products from cloned animals and their related offspring. The group also wanted to see animal cloning categorized as a “new animal drug.”

FDA ruled in January that products from cloned cattle, swine, goats and their offspring "are as safe to eat as the food we eat every day,"

Source: Dow Jones Newswires