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
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.
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.
"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
July , 2008