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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.