Food from cloned cattle, pigs and goats does not pose any health risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a draft ruling Thursday.

"No unique risks for human food consumption were identified in cattle, swine or goat clones," the FDA said in a statement.

The FDA will accept public comments before it makes a final ruling in the new year on whether food from cloned animals may be made available for sale.

Scientists with the FDA suggest in the Jan. 1 issue of Theriogenology that food from cloned animals does not need to be specially labelled.

"Meat and milk from clones and their progeny is as safe to eat as corresponding products derived from animals produced using contemporary agricultural practices," wrote FDA scientists Larisa Rudenko and John C. Matheson.

Rudenko and Matheson also noted that when the cloned animals reached six to 18 months of age, it was almost impossible to distinguish them from animals that had been traditionally bred.

Food from cloned animals is forbidden for sale in Canada but Health Canada officials noted earlier in the year that they are waiting to evaluate the FDA's findings.

Meanwhile, consumer groups continue to argue that more precautions should be made to protect the safety of the food supply. They argue that food products made from cloned animals must be separated and labelled.

The Consumer Federation of America said the FDA is overlooking research that shows cloning produces more deformed animals than other reproductive technologies.

Carol Tucker Foreman, the federation's director of food policy, is calling on supermarkets to refuse to sell food from clones.