Cloned meat gets approval from Food Standards Agency committee

Cloned meat is safe to eat “hypothetically speaking”, according to a Food Standards Agency (FSA) committee.

The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) said it considered a hypothetical application under the Novel Foods Regulations for the approval of meat and milk from cloned cattle and their progeny and noted that the evidence showed no differences in composition between the meat and milk of conventional animals, clones or their progeny and is therefore unlikely to present any food safety risk.

The ACNFP also found that the current evidence on the composition of meat and milk is relatively limited, and further evidence is required on how the rearing of animals in different environments may affect the meat and milk and that any potential differences between conventional cattle and the progeny of a clone were unlikely to exist from the second generation onwards.

The committee added that consumers may want to see effective labelling of products from clones and their offspring.

FSA chief scientist Andrew Wadge said: “In considering this hypothetical application, the ACNFP has confirmed that meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring shows no substantial difference to conventionally produced meat and milk and, therefore, is unlikely to present a food safety risk.

"The FSA Board will discuss this issue at its December meeting. The Board will consider the opinion of the ACNFP, the recent European Commission proposal to ban meat and milk from clones, and any other developments before providing further advice to ministers.”

In response, Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming chief policy advisor, added: “Cloned meat and milk may be safe to eat – in truth it may be too early to tell – but for the animals involved, it’s a welfare disaster. Many clones die in the early stages of life from heart failure, breathing difficulties and defective immune systems. The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that the health and welfare of a significant proportion of clones are ‘adversely affected, often severely and with a fatal outcome’.

“Compassion in World Farming believes that we need to look at what kind of animals cloning will produce for our farms.”

>>Industry slams Food Standards Agency in cloning row

>>MEP Struan Stevenson blames EU for cloning confusion


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