again on cloned animals
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Spotlight-again-on-cloned-animals
By Jane Byrne, 12-Mar-2009
A review of cloning is underway at the
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) following a request from the European
Commission for further advice on the implications of the technology for
food safety, animal health and welfare and the environment.
EFSA has initiated a public consultation period to collate data to
support the review, and the agency said that it aims to build on its July
2008 recommendations regarding clones.
The Commission has asked EFSA to further investigate the causes of
disease and mortality
during the gestation period and at early stages of life, and also requested
that the agency consider the extent to which current knowledge on the
cloning of cattle and pigs can be applied to sheep, goats and chicken.
According to the agency, the call for data is aimed at all parties
holding relevant information which has become available since January 2008,
such as new publications or scientific information not yet published.
EFSA said its Scientific Committee will deliver its advice by June
Last July, the agency said that meat and dairy products from cloned
pigs and cattle are probably safe for human consumption.
The risk assessor said that it looked into existing data on the safety
of cloned pigs and cattle; however, it warned that the data available was
Professor John Collins, chair of EFSA's Biohaz Panel, one of ten
scientific panels that make up the EFSA’s Scientific Committee, said the
premise that healthy meat comes from healthy animals informed the work of
He said that based on the knowledge available there was no evidence
to indicate that cloned meat and dairy goods were any different from
However, Collins added that the panel strongly recommended that the
health and welfare of clones be monitored throughout both their production
and natural life span to allow for revision of the EFSA opinion in the
light of any future developments or new data.
In January, an advisory committee for Japan's food safety regulator
said that food made from cloned animals is safe to eat.
And cloned animals and their offspring received a positive response
on their safety from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January
2008, with the regulator approving the sale of food from such animals.
However, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) was more cautious
saying food from cloned animals should not be sold until further
consultations took place.
Philip Hambling, Food Policy Manager with the British Meat
Processing Association (BMPA), told FoodProductionDaily.com previously that
it was too early to determine exactly what the benefits of animal cloning
technology for the meat industry were.
He said that as the meat sector was consumer driven and with the
general public so far displaying strong resistance to such products, more debate
around the ethical and social implications of cloning is required.
Consumer resistance to food from clones is bound to pose a problem,
given the level of high concern surrounding attempts to introduce
genetically-modified foods in Europe.
And a survey last year by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) showed
that consumers there struggled to find any tangible consumer benefits from
cloned animals being introduced into the food chain.
The FSA said the respondents expressed concern that the main motive would
be "financial, for biotech companies, livestock breeders, farmers
or food retailers."