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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Call for UK Legislation to Control Cloned Products

Immediate release (8 Feb 2011)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065.

In response to a Food Standards Agency (FSA) consultation, GM Freeze has called for interim legislation to bring the current presence of the offspring of clones in the UK under regulatory control. [1]

Last August it was revealed that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow had already entered the food chain, and that there were at least 96 calves with cloned parents alive in the UK, which could produce milk or meat in the future. [2]

At their December meeting the FSA Board recommended that meat and milk from the offspring of clones should not be required to gain approval under the Novel Foods Regulations before appearing on supermarket shelves – a reversal of the FSA’s stated policy in August. [3]

In their response to a FSA consultation, which closes on 10 February, GM Freeze describes this about turn as “premature and unjustified”, saying it, “would effectively give cloning the go ahead in the UK without a means to regulate it or label products (as consumers overwhelmingly demand).”

GM Freeze also point out that there is a strong case for banning cloning and associated products on grounds of animal welfare alone and quote the European Group on Ethics (EGE) in Science and New Technologies [4], who said:

Considering the current level of suffering and health problems of surrogate dams and animal clones, the Group has doubts as to whether cloning for food is justified…At present, the EGE does not see convincing arguments to justify the production of food from clones and their offspring.

GM Freeze say that in view of the fact that the Novel Foods Regulations don’t include animal welfare, there is an urgent need for the UK Government to introduce interim legislation to bring the current situation in the UK under regulatory control. The proposed law would ban the sale of products from clones and their off spring and make clones and their progeny fully traceable. GM Freeze says a UK interim regulation banning the sale of products from clones or their offspring would allow time for “a reasoned debate to take place about the future of cloning, free from the distraction of cloned products entering the market”.

The EU is currently examining what legislation is needed to control cloning and cloned products after the European Parliament voted for a full ban in July 2010, as well as for an immediate moratorium until that ban can be enacted.

Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

The current EU regulations do not allow cloning to be properly regulated so that safety, animal welfare, possible environmental impacts ethics can all be considered.

It will take the EU some time to get the rules agreed, and therefore it is necessary to ensure that the current presence of the offspring of clones in the UK is properly regulated and products cannot be sold as food. There is deep public concern about the use of cloning in farm animals, and we believe people would welcome interim UK laws until the EU brings forward the ban the Parliament voted for. Defra and the FSA simply cannot evade the issue any longer.

ENDs

Notes

[1] The FSA consultation issued on 13 January 2011 asked for views on whether products from the offspring of cloned animals should be regulated under the Novel Foods Regulation.

[2] “Clone farming has arrived”. Daily Mail, 10 January 2007. See www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-427714/Clone-farming-arrived.html.

“100 clone cows on UK farms: Shocking evidence of how ‘super calves’ have secretly spread into our food system”. Daily Mail. 3 August 2010. See

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1299773/100-clone-cows-UK-farms-How-Super-calves-spread-food-system.html#ixzz1B1pm8rPW,

“Clone beef’s been on sale: After clone milk, now food watchdogs launch an investigation into illegal meat sold in British shops”. Daily Mail. 4 August 2010. See www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1300097/Clone-beefs-sale-After-clone-milk-investigation-launched-illegal-meat.html.

[3] See Update on Cloning of Animals for Food Production here for details of the FSA policy about face.

[4] The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Commission, 2008. Ethical aspects of animal cloning for food supply – Opinion No 23 http://ec.europa.eu/european_group_ethics/publications/docs/opinion23_en.pdf.