Farmers are urged to ensure all food they sell meets legal requirements after media reports focusing on milk from the offspring of cloned cows.

The Food Standards Agency issued the warning following claims that milk from the offspring of cloned bovines was sold for human consumption.

“There are no food safety concerns surrounding consumption of products from healthy clones or their offspring,” it said.

But farmers should still abide by rules which meant permission was needed before such products were placed on the market.

“Meat and products from clones and their offspring are considered novel foods and would therefore need to be authorized,” said the agency.

“It is the responsibility of food business operators to ensure food that they place on the market is in compliance with the law.”

Media attention continues to focus on unsubstantiated claims that milk from the offspring of a cloned cow has entered the food chain in Britain.

The story made the front page of the Daily Mail for the second day running on Tuesday (3 August).

The claim was based on comments by an anonymous British dairy farmer first reported by the New York Times.

Dairy farm leaders said it was highly unlikely the milk had entered the food chain because the animals were reared for breeding, not dairying.

The Food Standards Agency said it had not received any applications relating to cloning and no authorisations have been made.

The agency will, of course, investigate any reports of unauthorised novel foods entering the food chain, it added.