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Monday, 04 April 2011

EU countries reject EP call for labelling of clone-derived food

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 met until late Monday night to discuss 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 we 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 is 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 are absolutely critical because clones are commercially viable only for breeding, not directly for food production. No farmer would spend €100,000 on a cloned bull, only to turn it into hamburgers."

Source: European Parliament