EU rejects EP call for labelling of clone-derived food

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meat from the offspring of cloned animals could find its way onto the EU market, with no-one being any the wiser, after member state representatives refused the Parliament's demand to label clone-derived products.

The two sides discussed updating novel food rules, but were unable to reach agreement on clone-derived food and nanotechnology. The first animal clone, Dolly the sheep, was created in 1996 and since then cows, pigs and goats have also been cloned, raising the question of whether or not one should use cloned animals for food. The EP had wanted bans on the sale of meat from cloned animals and their offspring and the use of cloning technology to produce food.

The Council and Commission backed a ban on cloning for food production, but rejected a ban on food from offspring, leading MEPs to propose a compromise of labelling clone-derived meat. Council agreed only to label fresh beef, which MEPs found insufficient given that a 2008 Eurobarometer study shows 63% of EU citizens are unlikely to buy food from cloned animals, while 61% find animal cloning morally wrong.

It was deeply frustrating that the Council would not listen to public opinion, the Chair of the EP delegation to the Conciliation Committee talks, Gianni Pittella, and the EP rapporteur on novel foods, Kartika Liotard, said in a joint statement. Measures regarding clone offspring were absolutely critical because clones were commercially viable only for breeding, not directly for food production, the statement went on.

Currently, there are no EU rules specifically allowing or banning dairy products and meat from cloned animals. The European Commission and Council wanted to regulate the products under the novel foods rules, while MEPs wanted them to be dealt with separately.
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