The European Commission has reportedly proposed a five-year ban on animal
cloning for food production in the European Union (EU), but stopped short of
prohibiting meat and milk from clone offspring. According to an October 19,
2010, Europa press release, the plan would also suspend “the use of cloned
farm animals and the marketing of food from clones,” while envisaging “the
establishment of a traceability system for imports of reproductive materials
for clones, such as semen and embryos of clones.”

In issuing its decision, the Commission stressed animal welfare concerns
but also noted that “there is no scientific evidence confirming food safety
concerns regarding foods obtained from cloned animals or their offspring.”
It emphasized that the proposal would not suspend cloning “for uses other
than food, such as research, conservation of endangered species or use of
animals for the production of pharmaceuticals.” As Health and Consumer
Policy Commissioner John Dalli stated, “The Communication adopted today
is a response to calls from the European Parliament and Member States to
launch a specific EU policy on this sensitive issue. I believe that the temporary
suspension constitutes a realistic and feasible solution to respond to the
present welfare concerns.”

Meanwhile, the Commission’s failure to include clone offspring in the ban has already drawn criticism from European Parliament Vice President Gianni Pitella, who called for “a moratorium—as soon as possible—to guarantee consumer protection in this sector.” Dalli, however, expressed hopes that the compromise would resolve a deadlock among the European Council, Commission and Parliament on the issue of novel food regulations, which govern the use of food and food ingredients that were not “significantly used for human consumption within the EU” before May 15, 1997. He also confirmed that a report on cloned livestock will be delivered to the European Council by the end of 2010. See the Daily Mail, EurActiv, Law360, and Telegraph, October 19, 2010; Meatingplace and The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2010.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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