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EU Scientists: Cloned Animal Products Fit for Consumption

  • January 16th, 2008
  • Posted by Sian Graham

cow.jpgThe European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both released reports concluding that meat and dairy products from cloned animals are safe for human consumption.

First to release its draft report on Friday (11.1.08) was the EFSA which was asked by the European Commission early in 2007 to provide a scientific opinion on the issues surrounding the consumption of cloned animals.

Despite noting there was ‘only limited data available’ the EFSA stated that, ‘based on current knowledge, there is no expectation that clones or their progeny would introduce any new food safety risks compared with conventionally bred animals.’

SCIENTIFICALLY SAFE BUT IS IT ETHICALLY RESPONSIBLE?

Scientists may have ticked off on the health effects of consuming cloned produce but it won’t be hitting European plates anytime soon.

The EC has also asked the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) to give an opinion based on the ethical issues surrounding the consumption of cloned produce.

The EGE met yesterday (15.1.08) and today in Brussels to discuss the ethical aspects of animal cloning for food supply; its report is pending, and the EFSA has linvited public commentary up to 25.2.08.
Consultations must take place with stakeholders and EU Member States governments before declaring   final conclusions in May.

AMERICA FOLLOWS EU LEAD

The FDA yesterday (15.1.08) approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock confirming its earlier findings on cloned produce from a 2001 report.

The food health authority concluded that ‘meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats … are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.’

The US Department of Agriculture is satisfied with the results and is preparing for a smooth transition of cloned produce onto supermarket shelves.

It may still be a few years away, as for the moment the Department is still encouraging producers to maintain their voluntary hold on sending cloned produce into the food supply.

AUSTRALIA CONSIDERS CLONED PRODUCE

In Australia the cloning of livestock animals is still in the experimental stages, with less than 100 dairy and beef cattle and a small number of sheep.

But the issue surrounding the eventual sale and consumption of cloned animal produce remains prominent.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says Australia is considering whether to regulate food from cloned animals and their offspring.

It has assessed food safety evidence contained in the US Food and Drug Administration draft risk assessment report and has provided its own analysis to the Australian Government for consideration.

Reference:

European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, ‘Draft Agenda’, 7.1.8.
http://ec.europa.eu/european_group_ethics/docs/draft_agenda_15_16_january_brussels.pdf…, (16.1.08).

European Food Safety Authority, ‘Draft Opinion For Public Consultation’, 11.1.08.
http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/DocumentSet/sc_opinion_clon_public_consultation.pdf…, (16.1.08).

Food Standards Australia New Zealand, ‘Food derived from cloned animals and their offspring’ http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/newsroom/factsheets/factsheets2008/foodderivedfromclone3821.cfm…, (16.1.08).

Food and Drug Administration,’FDA Issues Documents on the Safety of Food from Animal Clones’, 15.1.08. http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01776.html…,(16.1.08).

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