‘Meat from cloned animals safe for humans’
by, 14-01-2008 at 07:31 AM (4972 Views)
Meat and milk from healthy cattle and pig clones are probably safe for human consumption, the European Union's (EU's) food safety watchdog said, although it said some data on cloned farmed animals remained sketchy.
“Food products obtained from healthy cattle and pig clones...are within the normal range with respect to the composition and nutritional value of similar products obtained from conventionally bred animals,” the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) said.
“It is very unlikely that any difference exists in terms of food safety between food products originating from clones and their progeny compared with those derived from conventionally bred animals,” the agency, based in the northern Italian city of Parma, said on its website.
The document is a “draft opinion” requested by the European Commission in February 2007 and for which public comment is invited by next February 25.
A revised opinion is scheduled to be published in May. The cloning technology known as somatic cell nuclear transfer - the method used in 1997 to make Dolly the Sheep, the world's first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell - can be “successfully used as a reproductive technique in cattle and pigs,” Efsa said.
However, the technology is “relatively new” and available data for risk assessment is limited, Efsa said.
The agency noted that clones had “significantly higher” rates of death and disease, but predicted that mortality rates would decrease with improved technology.
It said, however, that studies had been limited mainly to cattle and pig clones, and most of these studies only had small samples.
In addition, the agency said it did not foresee an environmental impact from animal cloning, but warned again of limited data.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was preparing to declare definitively that food products from cloned animals and their offspring are safe, having stated the finding in a tentative conclusion in late 2006.
Sales of such food products have not been authorised in either Europe or the United States pending formal safety rulings.