Britons fret as meat from cloned cow offspring eaten

Wed Aug 4, 2010 5:34am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - 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.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that under European rules, suppliers are supposed to obtain a license before selling products from cloned animals but added there was no suggestion they posed any health danger to consumers.

"While there is no evidence that consuming products from healthy clones, or their offspring, poses a food safety risk, meat and products from (them) are considered novel foods and would therefore need to be authorized before being placed on the market," the FSA said.

It had traced two bulls born in Britain which began life as embryos harvested from a cloned cow in the United States, and one was slaughtered in July last year.

"Meat from this animal entered the food chain and will have been eaten," the agency said.

The second bull was slaughtered last month and action was taken before its meat entered the food chain.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008 approved the sale of food from clones and their offspring, stating the products were indistinguishable from those of non-cloned animals.

However, the European parliament voted recently to exclude food from cloned animals from a list of approved products. A novel food application must be made before it can be sold.   Continued...