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FSA Should Not Throw in Towel on Clone Milk Application – Call for legislation

Immediate release (16 Sep 2010)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

GM Freeze has written to the Government Ministers calling for interim legislation to enable cloned cattle imports and their of offspring to be fully traceable and labelledto prevent them entering the food chain.

At yesterday’s FSA Board Meeting in Aberdeen, FSA chair Lord Rooker told fellow Board members, “You can’t regulate what you can’t count and what you can’t check on. That is an impossibility. How can you prevent the public being misled? We can’t on this.” [1]

Under current legislation covering Novel Foods, imports of animals, embryos and imported animal products, there is no requirement to include information about cloning in cattle breeding records and cattle movement passports.

In a parallel development, the owners of Scottish Farm, where the FSA say there are 96 heifers, which are the descendent of the original cloned imports from the USA in 2008, have stated that they have applied to market milk from the cloned offspring under the existing Novel Foods regulations. [2]

GM Freeze wrote to Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman and her counterpart at the Department of Health, Andrew Lansley, on 2 September 2010, calling for interim legislation to be introduced to plug these gaps and allow cloned animals, their offspring and products to be fully traceable so that meat and milk products could be prevented entering the food chain. [3]

The FSA’s own public surveys show strong opposition to cloned meat and milk entering the market and a poll carried by Which? in 2008 found 80% would prefer to avoid products from clones. [4]

Commenting Pete Riley of GM freeze said:

Lord Rooker seems to have thrown in the towel on controlling the import and movement of cloned embryos, animals, their offspring and products and now we are faced with on application to sell milk. The FSA’s response is an unacceptable response and not in keeping with the wishes of most people. The application is a a real test of the Government’s and FSA’s resolve on this issue, and if and when it is decided on we will see whether they are prepared to stand up for animal welfare and the protection of human health.

The immediate solution is a simple piece of legislation to require all imports and movement of clones and their progeny to be included on the paper work already required under other legislation. There would be no extra cost involved, and it would enable these unwanted and poorly tested products to be tracked and prevent them getting into our food.

The FSA should just get on with drafting the legislation and present it to ministers as soon as possible and stop pretending their hands are tied. It is time the FSA got a grip on this issue and to listen very hard to what the public is saying.

ENDs

Notes

[1] Quoted in the Daily Mail, 16September 2010. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1312414/Clone-food-shops-years.html#ixzz0zgcT5J8n.

[2] See http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1920086?UserKey=#ixzz0zgpPT1jG.

[3] Letters available on request.

[4] See www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/clonereport.pdf and Which? face-to-face survey of 1,968 adults in the UK from 8-12 February 2008 that found only 13% agreed that cloning should be used to produce animals for food production and 80% said they would prefer to buy foods that were not produced using cloned animals.(see www.which.co.uk/about-which/press/press-releases/campaign-press-releases/food-and-health/2008/07/which-food-cloning-statement/).