The EU Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has reportedly rejected a draft provision that sought to allow products from cloned animals and their descendants on the European market. ENVI considered the proposal as part of its efforts to update and simplify regulations pertaining to foods that “have not been consumed to any significant degree in the EU before May 1997.” These novel foods include those that are “newly developed, such as food produced by new production processes like nanotechnology, but also foods traditionally consumed outside the EU.”

Members of European Parliament apparently voted 42-2 “in favor of entirely excluding food derived from cloned animals and their offspring from the scope of this legislation.” Instead, they have asked the European Commission, which initially proposed regulating these products under the novel foods framework, “to present a separate legislative proposal to prohibit food derived from cloned animals and their offspring.” According to a May 4, 2010, ENVI news release, “The aim is to achieve a high level of food safety, as well as consumer, environmental and animal health protection, based on the precautionary principle.”

The committee has also approved new requirements for foods produced using nanotechnology. Defined as having one or more dimensions less than 100 nanometers, these substances “will need to be clearly indicated in the list of ingredients.” The draft legislation would also compel nano-engineered foods to undergo “specific and adequate risk assessments” before market approval. As the MEPs noted, however, all novel foods when necessary must also pass muster with the European Food Safety Authority and the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies on potential health, ethical and environmental implications. See Law360, May 5, 2010.

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