FSA set for cloning decision

The descendants of cloned animals will be able to enter the food chain in the UK without any prior authorisation if the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board adopts new recommendations at its meeting on 25 May.

Following advice from the European Food Safety Authority and the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, the FSA concluded in December that there were no food safety grounds for regulating foods from the descendants of these animals. The agency subsequently sought the views of stakeholders and has now made it clear the UK should fall into line with the rest of Europe.

Until now, the agency has advised that authorisation was required before meat or milk from a clone or its descendants could be sold to consumers. That policy led to a furore last year when it was discovered that meat from bulls had entered the food chain without the knowledge of the FSA.

FSA Scotland chief professor Charles Milne said there would be no traceability system for the offspring from cloned animals and pointed out that the new advice applied only to cattle and pigs. The science on other species was currently too limited.

He added: “There are no food safety concerns but some people will still be concerned about the ethical and welfare standards of cloning. But that’s a different argument.”

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