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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

FSA Needs to Get a Grip on Cloned Milk Sales

Immediate release (2 Aug 2010)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

GM Freeze is calling for urgent action by the Food Standards Agency to ensure that no milk from cloned dairy cows enters the food chain and for procedures to be put in place to prevent the import of cloned embryos from the US.

According to reports in the Daily Mail today one UK farmer has claimed that milk from a cloned dairy cow is illegally entering the UK food. [1] The potential for cloned animals to enter the UK, and their products to be marketed, was highlighted by GM Freeze in 2008 and, at that time, most companies contacted were ill-prepared to deal with cloned products as few had coherent policies in place. [2]

Cloning farm animals is not legal in the European Union and many safety and ethical issues have been raised which include [3]:

  • The health and welfare of the cloned embryo and animals.
  • The welfare of the surrogate mother.
  • High failure rates from cloning procedures.
  • Food safety of cloned products.
  • Increased problems in UK farm animals from lack of genetic diversity.

In many areas basic research has not been carried out. On 6 July the EU Parliament voted overwhelmingly for a complete ban on food from clones and their offspring and for an immediate moratorium on all such products until the Commission can bring forward the required legislation.

At present it is has not been confirmed if the cloned dairy cattle in the UK have also been genetically modified. Genetic modification raises additional safety and regulatory issues.

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

There needs to be urgent action to by the Food Standards Agency and other regulators to prevent to import of cloned animals into the UK and the sale of their progeny and products from them. The safety, wisdom and ethics of cloning are still being debated in the EU and the general public have hardly had a chance to put their views.

Cloning is about increasing production, and therefore profits, at the expense of animal welfare. It fits into the model of intensive production in dairy farming dependent on imported animal feeds (such as soybeans and maize) and fertiliser-fed grasslands, which is not sustainable in the long-term.

The FSA needs to get a grip on what’s happening and appear to have been caught out despite the warnings of such an incident occurring. We would also expect retailers to take immediate steps to prevent cloned milk products going on sale, and we are surprised that they have not told their suppliers to avoid cloned cows already.



[1] See

[2] See chart here.

[3] See GM Freeze consultation response here.