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Page last update: 25/12/2008

European Commission request to EFSA for advice to determine safety of animal cloning on food safety, animal health and welfare and the environment

The Commission has sent a request to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for a scientific opinion on the implication of animal cloning on food safety, animal welfare and the environment. The opinion, due by August 2007, is set to determine whether meat and milk from cloned animals are
safe to eat.

The request comes shortly after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated, on 28 December 2006, in a draft risk assessment, that was endorsed in April 2007 that meat and milk products from cloned cattle, pigs and goats were safe for consumption. Due to limited data on sheep clones, the FDA recommends that sheep clones not be used for human food. The FDA is currently seeking comments from public on the draft.

Terms of reference of the EC request

EC has submitted a formal request to advise on the food safety, animal health, animal welfare and environment implications of living cloned animals, created via the somatic cell nucleus transfer (SCNT) technique, their offspring and of the foodstuffs obtained from those animals.

The Commission has also asked the European Group on Ethics (EGE) to give an opinion on the ethics of cloning.

Cloning is not a commercial practice in Europe and cloned products are not known to have entered the European food chain as yet, but, according to the Commission's letter to the EFSA, we are "on the verge of widespread commercial use" and cloned products are "expected to spread within the global food chain before 2010". Currently, livestock cloning is gaining ground, particularly in the US.

Source: European Food Safety Authority
More Information:
Request letter from European commission to EFSA on the implication of animal cloning
EFSA's initial response to the Commission's request for an opinion
Opinion of the group of advisers on the ethical implication of biotechnology to the european commission
European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies

Last update: 25 December 2008 | Top