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Clones and Offspring: It’s What’s for Dinner in UK

The British consumer group that goes by the name “Which?” called it a U-turn as the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency decided to allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals.

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The “nevermind” approach FSA took Wednesday was in stark contrast to last summer, when butcher shops that sold products from clones were told they’d broken the rules and needed so-called “novel food” licenses.

While Which? sees FSA backing off its earlier position as a turn about, the agency started signaling its change of mind last year when it found there was no scientific reason why meat and milk from clones could not be consumed safely as human food.

In clearing the way for consumers to eat the products, FSA indicated it would probably still want to impose a license requirement.

“This U-turn is another disappointment for the eight in ten people who don’t want to eat cloned food,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?  “Our research shows the consumers see little difference between meat and dairy products from actual clones or their offspring.”

Lloyd says his organization will seek a tracking system and clear labeling of meat from clone offspring that makes its way to supermarket shelves.  “The supply chain may be complex –particularly as products from clones can be unknowingly imported from other countries,” he added.

Lloyd said FSA and the government should respect people’s right to know what they are eating.

FSA’s policy will be carried forward to the European Union (EU) Commission and Parliament.

The final FSA opinion also appears to square with U.S. policy.  Since a 2008 “final risk assessment,” — a 968-page report — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy has been that food from the healthy clones of cattle, swine and goats is as healthy as food from non-cloned animals.

© Food Safety News
  • Laturb

    As expected, another U turn at the behest of the industry.
    If ‘food from the healthy clones of cattle, swine and goats is as healthy as food from non-cloned animals’ then why try and dupe the public?
    I, for one, will be urging ‘Which’ and other similar organisations to campaign aggressively for clear European labelling, and I think we’ll succeed, unlike you poor Americans.

  • dangermaus

    Are the objections to cloned livestock coming largely from the animal rights movement?
    It’s hard for me to see how a cloned animal could be more dangerous than a cloned plant, which people never give a second thought… Drugs or other substances given to an animal can persist in the organism and get eaten by humans, and potentially be a problem, and GM organisms present the risk of the altered genes escaping into wild populations. What is the risk of a cloned animal? Are people just being squeamish?