Why do Journalists Use the Word “Frankenfood”? Another Example of Atrophied Logic

Terry D. Etherton

This morning, at home over breakfast, I opened the Wall Street Journal.  And, page A15 “popped” open.  What caught my attention was the article EU Extends ‘Frankenfood’ Fight, Nears Ban on Farm-Animal Clones.  The purpose of the story was to convey that the European Union (EU) had moved a big step closer toward a ban on cloning farm animals and a prohibition of imports of cloned livestock and their meat and milk.

The EU decision is silly, and is not based on a shred of scientific evidence.  I have written previously about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conclusion that “….the available data has not identified any food consumption risks or subtle hazards in healthy clones of cattle, swine, or goats.”  The “key” take-home message is that cloning is safe.

What elevated my blood pressure was the use of the word ‘Frankenfood’.  I continue to be mystified why a reputable journalist elected to use this word.  It slanders the scientific evidence base in support of animal cloning, and clearly sets a biased tone for the story.  This serves no one well, and is just a continuation of inappropriate “word play” that attacks some remarkable scientific accomplishments.  It is, simply, unfair!

I am hoping that when I open the paper in the near future that I see an apology from the journalist.  However, I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

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