The EU has approved the first steps of legislation that will allow meat from cloned animals to enter the food system.
The Novel Foods Regulation was initially introduced in 1997 to assess the safety of ‘novel’ products (products not consumed to a significant degree in the EU before 15 May 1997). European Union agriculture ministers met in Luxembourg late last month to confirm an update of the regulation, which would allow food derived from animal clones to be sold on the EU market.
Although the draft has been approved, the regulation must still be put before the European Parliament, which supports a ban on all food from cloned animals. However, opponents consider the decision a stepping-stone towards the blanket approval of cloned meats in the EU.
UK Green MEP Caroline Lucas expressed concern that cloning livestock would further reduce gene pool diversity, already threatened by current industrial farming. ‘Such variety offers an essential safeguard against epidemics and food scares’ she said. ‘It is deeply worrying that EU governments are keeping options open regarding the possible sale of meat from cloned animals on the European market.’
'Cloning animals increases pressure not only on animals, but on a system of farming increasingly seen as unsustainable’ said Eve Mitchell from campaign group GM Freeze, who also criticized the decision. 'Ministers are completely out of tune with consumer and expert opinion, not to mention the explicit wishes of the [European] Parliament. If ministers will not listen, supermarkets and food producers need to make sure that they abide by the wishes of consumers on this issue and have systems in place to prevent products from clones entering their supply chains.'
Source: The Ecologist