EC rules against need for cloned meat labelling

19th December 2013 - Fine Cut

Meat from the offspring of cloned animals will continue to be sold without special labelling requirements in the UK, after the European Commission (EC) opposed plans to end the method.

The issue, reported by the Daily Telegraph, has caused concern that Britons could have unknowingly eaten meat sourced from the young of animals whose DNA has been tampered with for the past two years amid calls for a change to the labelling technique.

According to the article, hundreds of dairy cows from cloned parents have already been reared and slaughtered on farms around the UK.

Consumer groups have previously claimed that more than 80 per cent of people are opposed to eating food from clones or their offspring.

Earlier this week, the EC proposed a temporary ban on the cloning of animals for food in the European Union. However, the body said it will not take measures to restrict meat or milk from cows, pigs or sheep that are the descendants of cloned animals.

The Commission also said it would not label food from the offspring of cloned animals, because such a move could not be easily enforced.

“This requires that parentage information for every food-producing animal is conveyed through the food production chain," it said.

"This becomes more complicated and therefore costly with every generation between the clone and the animal, reproductive material and the food."

Officials said that in order to carry this out, checking the accuracy of statements on labels would require meticulous investigation into the accompanying documentation.

It is likely that thousands of pigs and cows in Europe are the offspring of cloned animals from the US, as there are no restrictions on importing reproductive fluids from a cloned animal.

A study carried out in the US in 2008 said that meat and milk from cow, pig and goat clones - as well as their offspring - was safe for human consumption.

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