Cloning can threaten the health of livestock, but there is "no clear evidence" that consuming meat and milk is a risk to humans, an EU scientific report suggested Thursday.
The European Commission said in a first reaction to the eagerly
awaited report that "it gives rise to increased concerns on aspects of
animal health and welfare."
"Due to the absence of data there are also some food safety open
questions," it added.
The prospect of meat and milk from cloned animals ending up on
supermarket shelves is a hot-button issue in Europe, with authorities
eager to avert crisis over so-called Frankenfoods.
The European Commission is currently mulling whether food derived
from cloned animals should be allowed - and the report from the
European Food Safety Authority is meant to provide a scientific basis
for its reflections.
Public opinion to play a role
While the food safety agency's report clearly highlighted the risks
of cloning to animals, especially those of less than six months old,
its findings about the health threats to humans were less conclusive.
However, the European Union's executive arm has promised to also
take into account public opinion towards cloning and has commissioned a
survey due in the coming months.
"No clear evidence has emerged to suggest any differences between
food products from clones or their offspring, in terms of food safety,
compared to products from conventionally bred animals," said Vittorio
Silano, head of the agency's scientific committee.
Evidence base still small
"But we must acknowledge that the evidence base, while growing and
showing consistent findings, is still small," he added.
However, he said that as far as cattle and pigs were concerned,
"food safety concerns are considered unlikely." – (Sapa-AFP)
Green light for cloned food
Steaks out of a test-tube?
July , 2008