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EU Considers Allowing Cloned Meat, Milk on Market

Meat and milk from cloned animals could soon become available in the EU, depending on the outcome of a European Food Safety// Authority scientific review.

EFSA reported yesterday that the European Commission had asked it for advice on the implications of animal cloning on food safety, animal health and welfare and the environment.

Cloning could provide processors with a better quality of meat and other products, such as dairy. Cloning offers the possibility of creating strains of animals with increased disease resistance and other qualities.

However consumer resistance is bound to pose a problem, as happed in the case of attempts to introduce genetically-modified foods in the bloc.

The Commission request asks for advice on food safety, animal health, animal welfare and environment implication of "live cloned animals, obtained through somatic cell nucleus transfer (SCNT) technique, their offspring and of the products obtained from those animals."

EFSA is the scientific risk assessor for novel foods proposed for introduction in the EU's food chain. The Commission made the request of opinions both from EFSA and the European Group of Ethics.

Animal cloning issues cut across different EFSA scientific panels, the agency said.

At present in Europe cloning is not a commercial practice and there is no specific regulation on the authorisation of food products from cloned animals for human consumption in the EU.

EFSA's opinion will therefore help inform any future EU measures for cloned animals and their products.

"EFSA has already begun considering how best to address this issue in anticipation of the possibility of such a request, and will now discuss with the Commission the request received," the agency stated. "A final mandate will be agreed with the Commission, taking into account issues such as the proposed timetable for working on such a complex opinion."


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