Japan study group says
cloned animals safe for food
Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:20am EST
Source of Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE50J1SV20090120
TOKYO (Reuters) - A study group for Japan's top
safety watchdog said cloned animals are safe for food, the first step in a
series of decisions needed before the watchdog makes recommendations to the
With several meetings pending by a higher-level
committee of experts, it will take months before the Food Safety Commission
reports its assessment on the safety of food in production using the
controversial reproductive technology.
The United States in January last year opened the
door to bringing meat and milk from cloned cattle, hogs and goats and their
offspring into the food supply.
"The working group focused on the assessment of
the health of cloned cattle and hogs. The assumption of their discussion was
that if such animals are healthy, food made from them would be safe,"
said Kazuo Funasaka, a spokesman at the commission,
said on Tuesday.
"Their conclusion is that based on the
scientific knowledge and information available at present, such food is as
safe as cattle and hogs bred conventionally," he said.
Cloning animals is considered a key technology to
improve efficiency in livestock production.
health ministry asked the commission in April 2008 for its assessment on
safety of such food.
government has had to face fierce criticism from consumers over its handling
of tainted imported rice, and a series of food scandals last year have made
consumers even more cautious about food from cloned animals.
was among the first countries to produce cloned animals. It bred cloned
cattle in 1998 and the cumulative total of such cattle now totals more than
550. It also breeds cloned hogs and goats, all for research purposes.
(Reporting by Risa Maeda;
Editing by Edwina Gibbs)