News / Europe

    EU Commission Renews Bid to Ban Food from Cloned Animals

    Holstein cows stand inaHolstein cows stand in a field at a farm near Nairn in northern Scotland, Aug. 4, 2010. Britain's food watchdog said it had found that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow had entered the UK food chain and had been eaten, stirring controversy over whether such products are ethical. Holstein cows stand inaHolstein cows stand in a field at a farm near Nairn in northern Scotland, Aug. 4, 2010. Britain's food watchdog said it had found that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow had entered the UK food chain and had been eaten, stirring controversy over whether such products are ethical.
    x
    Holstein cows stand inaHolstein cows stand in a field at a farm near Nairn in northern Scotland, Aug. 4, 2010. Britain's food watchdog said it had found that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow had entered the UK food chain and had been eaten, stirring controversy over whether such products are ethical.
    Holstein cows stand inaHolstein cows stand in a field at a farm near Nairn in northern Scotland, Aug. 4, 2010. Britain's food watchdog said it had found that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow had entered the UK food chain and had been eaten, stirring controversy over whether such products are ethical.
    Reuters
    The European Commission on Wednesday again proposed a ban on food and products from cloned animals, two years after failing to block their use.

    EU governments and lawmakers rejected the first move in 2011 because of a dispute over labeling. If approved, the latest draft rules would ban the use of cloning in commercial farming within the 28-nation bloc for five years, and prohibit the sale and import of food such as meat or milk from cloned animals.

    While it would be illegal to import cloned animals from countries where the technique is used commercially, such as the United States and Brazil, the import and sale of food from the offspring of clones would be allowed.

    The EU executive said the distinction was justified because the welfare concerns surrounding animal cloning - which has a success rate of less than 20 percent and often results in birth defects or miscarriage - do not apply to their conventionally bred offspring.

    “Today's proposals seek to ensure that no cloning for farming purposes will be carried out in the European Union, and no such clone will be imported as long as these animal welfare concerns persist,” European health commissioner Tonio Borg told a news briefing to present the proposals.

    But the draft rules could run into opposition from lawmakers in the European Parliament, which previously said it would only accept the sale of food from the young of clones if all such products were clearly labeled.

    Opponents of the idea say it would require regulators to draw up a family tree for every slice of cheese or salami sold in Europe, and the Commission said it needed more time to analyze whether such a labeling scheme was feasible.

    But consumer groups said more than 80 percent of Europeans were opposed to eating food from clones and their offspring, and accused the Commission of putting trade relations ahead of the wishes of citizens.

    “Without effective labeling, European consumers have no knowledge of what their Argentinian steak or American beef is made of as traceability systems for cloned food do not exist in these countries,” European consumer body BEUC said in a statement.

    Food issues are likely to among the major hurdles in reaching a milestone trade pact between the EU and the United States, negotiations over which have just kicked off.

    Complex and costly

    Animal cloning uses DNA transfer to create an exact genetic copy of an animal. The first mammal to be successfully cloned using a method known as adult nuclear transfer was a sheep named “Dolly”, created in 1996 by scientists in Britain.

    The technique is complex and costly, ensuring that cloned animals themselves are highly unlikely to be used as food. But they can be bred traditionally to produce offspring that share similar traits, such as high milk production or rapid growth.

    Regulators in the United States and Europe have concluded that meat and milk from the offspring of animal clones are as safe as from conventionally bred livestock.

    The United States is one of the most advanced countries in terms of commercial animal cloning. It currently has a voluntary moratorium on the sale of food from cloned animals, but not their offspring.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said there are currently only “a few hundred” cloned cattle in the United States, but other estimates provided by companies suggest there could be several thousand.

    While cloning is not currently widespread in Europe, there have been reports of milk from the offspring of cloned cows being sold in Britain.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora