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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid