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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

UK Companies Not Prepared for Clones – Consumers Could be Left in Dark

Immediate release (16 Dec 2008)

Calls to Eve Mitchell on 01381 610 740 or Pete Riley on 0845 217 8992

UK food industry not responding sufficiently to consumers concerns about cloned farm animals and product from cloned products and their offspring in the food chain.

A survey released by GM Freeze today shows that the UK food industry is not doing enough to help consumers avoid food from clones and their offspring. [1]

Eighty-four per cent of Europeans believe we do not have enough experience about the long-term health and safety effects of using cloned animals for food. [2] Animal welfare issues, including high calf mortality and poor health, were a major concern to the European Ethics Group.

Some companies like Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsbury have solid policies not to sell such products, but other major brands such as Netto, All Bar One, Harvester, and Punch Taverns will sell food from clones if it is legalised in the EU.

Some companies who rely on animals for their core business, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Dairy Crest and Robert Wiseman Dairies, simply did not respond to requests for clarification of their policy, so there is no way of knowing what goes into their products. [3]

At present cloning companies and regulators in both the US and the EU admit they have no idea how much unlabelled food from clones and their offspring is already in the food chain, since no one is monitoring where cloned animals go. The only curb on them entering US products destined for exports is a request from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a “voluntary moratorium” to protect the reputation of the market. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says some products from clones are safe despite the serious concerns expressed by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Commission. So far the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) does not have a policy.

There are also unresolved questions about the impact of clones on the environment. GM Freeze agrees with the National Academy of Sciences that cloned animals might pose an irreversible environmental risk that the regulatory structure is not equipped to handle.[4] There is a lack of research into potential environmental impacts, including the ability of stronger clones outcompeting natural animals if they escape into the wild. [5] Clones animals also pose risks to agriculture [6] as they may lead to a loss of genetic diversity needed to ensure the long-term viability of breeds by providing genetic resistance to disease and ability to utilize less high protein feed.

Eve Mitchell of GM Freeze said:

We believe that the conservation of genetic resources should be a legal requirement for all those involved in cloning. We call on all UK companies making or selling foods or other products that could contain products from clones or their offspring to urgently develop polices stating they will not use them. Consumers wishing to avoid supporting this unacceptable technology can consult our website or ask food companies directly for their policies.


Calls to Eve Mitchell on 01381 610 740 or Pete Riley on 0845 217 8992.

[1] See GM Freeze report here.

[2] See [3] See

[4] “Food Fight – Clones are In, Consumers Won’t Know”, 15 January 2008,—clones-are-in-consumers-won%E2%80%99t-know.aspx?googleid=29074.

[5] & [6] See GM Freeze consultation response here.