EU Cloning Proposal Shows Disregard for Science

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tuesday, October 19, 2010) - A European Commission report released today proposes a temporary suspension of animal cloning for food production in the European Union, disregarding science that has been firmly established for years, and depriving European farmers of access to technology which is benefitting animal production around the globe.

The European Commission announced today its report to the European Parliament and the Council on animal cloning for food production.  In addition to the temporary suspension, the Commission plans to temporarily suspend the use of cloned farm animals and the marketing of food from clones.

“This decision turns a blind eye to global scientific agreement that foods from livestock clones and their offspring are completely safe to eat,” says Dr. David Edwards, director of animal biotechnology for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

“Cloning is a breeding technology that helps farmers and ranchers produce healthier animals.  Animal clones are an exact genetic copy of an existing animal, a ‘twin’ born at a different time.  The offspring of cloned animals are produced through conventional breeding, and their lineage gives them enhanced genetic traits.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released its scientific risk assessment in January 2008, concluding that food products from cloned cattle, pigs and goats and the products from all offspring of any cloned food species, are as safe as products from conventionally bred animals.

Likewise, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced in July 2008 its final scientific opinion that food from cloned cattle and pigs is safe, and there are no implications of animal cloning on the environment.  Key findings of the EFSA Scientific Committee include:

  • There is no indication that differences exist in terms of food safety for meat and milk of clones and their progeny compared with those from conventionally bred animals.
  • Somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT (the most common technique used to clone animals) results in the production of healthy cattle and pig clones, and healthy offspring that are similar to their conventional counterparts based on parameters such as physiological characteristics, demeanor and clinical status.
  • From the data collected, no environmental impact is foreseen.

EFSA reiterated its 2008 conclusions in 2009 and again in 2010.

“Livestock cloning has been utilized by livestock breeders in the United States for more than a decade and is being widely adopted around the world as one of many modern agricultural technologies,” says Edwards.

“This and other science-based solutions help to achieve an improved, sustainable and reliable food supply.  Cloning is just one example of how agricultural biotechnology can provide those solutions to consumers, farmers and food processors and retailers around the world.”


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