Farmers supplying milk to Dairy Crest have been ordered to sign an official declaration to confirm they are not supplying milk from cloned cows or their offspring.
Dairy farmers began receiving forms from the processor on Friday (5 August) which reminded them they would be in breach of their contracts if they supplied milk from a clone-derived cow.
It called on suppliers, who provide about 2.4bn litres of milk to the processor each year, to sign a declaration to pledge they had not and would not supply milk from cloned cows or their offspring.
The move came after an unnamed British farmer told an American newspaper he was selling milk from the offspring of a cloned cow.
It has since emerged that almost 100 animals have been born in Britain to eight cattle imported as embryos from a prize-winning American cow.
The Food Standards Agency said there was no risk to public health from milk produced from clone-derived cows.
But it considers milk from cloned offspring to be “novel foods” which must be authorised before being placed on the market.
The agency said it had received no such applications.
A statement from Dairy Crest said the issue of milk from cloned-derived cows was “a major concern” to the processor’s stakeholders.
“Dairy Crest’s milk purchasing contract prohibits the supply of milk from these animals,” it said.
“We do not believe that any of our suppliers have breached these requirements but recent events have created a need for additional measures of due diligence.
“For the purposes of clarity, we have written to all our milk suppliers to remind them that in the absence of authorisation of novel foods from the FSA it is unlawful to supply milk from cows produced by cloning methods or from the offspring of cloned cows.
“This would be in breach of the contractual obligations of Dairy Crest’s Milk Producer’s Agreement.
“All suppliers have been required to sign a declaration that they have not, and will not, supply milk from cloned cows or their offspring.”