FSA Says Offspring of Clones Do Not Require Authorization as “Novel Foods”
The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) board has reportedly changed its position to agree with the European Commission (EC) that food from the offspring of cloned cattle and pigs does not require authorization as “novel foods.” Meeting December 7, 2010, to discuss animal cloning for food production, the FSA board also agreed that “for food safety purposes, mandatory labeling of meat and milk obtained from the descendants of cloned cattle and pigs would be unnecessary and disproportionate, providing no significant food safety benefit to consumers.”
According to an FSA press release, the food safety watchdog agreed to advise
European Union ministers that “the marketing of products obtained from
cloned animals should be subject to authorization as novel foods,” but that
it was prepared to adopt EC’s position that offspring of cloned cattle and
pigs does not require such authorization. FSA announced that it will seek
views from interested parties relating to its change of position. The board
also agreed to ask the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs to
“consider what information about the ethics and welfare of animal cloning
should be provided to the public.” See FSA Press Release, December 7, 2010.
The news follows an FSA advisory committee’s recent determination that meat and milk from cloned animals is “hypothetically” safe. The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes considered a “hypothetical application under the Novel Foods Regulations on whether available evidence on clones and their offspring provides a sufficient basis for the evaluation of meat and milk from such animals.” According to a November 25, 2010, FSA press release, the committee concluded that (i) “the evidence showed that no differences in composition between the meat and milk of conventional animals, clones or their progeny and is therefore unlikely to present any food safety risk”; (ii) “the current evidence on the composition of meat and milk is relatively limited, and further evidence is required on how the rearing of animals in different environments may affect the meat and milk”; (iii) “any potential differences between conventional cattle and the progeny of a clone were unlikely to exist from the second generation onwards”; and (iv) “consumers may want to see effective labeling of products from clones and their offspring.” See FSA Press Release, November 25, 2010.