21st Sep 2019

EU agency gives guarded 'ok' to cloned meat

  • (Photo: EUobserver)

Meat and milk from cloned animals or their offspring are as safe to eat as products from conventionally bred animals, the European Union's food safety watchdog has said. The body has admitted, however, that the base of evidence - while showing consistent findings - is still limited.

On Thursday (24 July), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released its final scientific opinion on the impact of animal cloning on food safety, animal health and welfare as well as the environment.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The study - triggered by the European Commission's request for advice in February 2007 - has concluded that "for cattle and pigs, food safety concerns are considered unlikely".

"The composition and nutritional values of meat and milk from healthy clones and their offspring are not different from those obtained from conventionally reproduced animals," Professor Vittorio Silano, the head of EFSA's scientific committee, told the EUobserver.

But when asked whether there is any risk linked to eating and drinking cloned food products, he sticked to the term "unlikely".

"Science normally does not give this kind of reply: [a definitive] 'Yes' or 'No'. The reply we can give confidently is that it is unlikely that there might be a problem," Professor Silano said, although recommending "additional research" in order to increase the data basis for any conclusion.

In addition, EFSA has stressed that meat and milk must be derived strictly from healthy animals, while it is "important" to track back sick animals and remove them from food chain.

The study has also raised concerns over health and animal welfare aspects, as "a significant proportion of clones" have been found to be adversely affected, often severely and with a fatal outcome.

But there is "no evidence that there is any carry-over to the next generation", Professor Dan Collins, a member of EFSA's scientific committee, told the EUobserver.

The European Commission - in charge of making any policy recommendations based on EFSA's study - has responded cautiously to study results. They "give rise to increased concerns on aspects of animal health and welfare" and left open questions of food safety, it said, according to the Guardian.

According to Professor Silano, it is going to take a long time before food from cloned animals' offspring reaches store shelves in Europe.

"I guess this is the trend in the US, but I am not so sure that this is the trend in Europe," he said, citing many objections concerning animal welfare and skeptic public opinion as two main reasons.

And the world's heaviest drinkers are ... Europeans

Europeans still drink more alcohol than the rest of the word, according to a recently-released report of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Germany, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania are the heaviest-drinking EU countries.

EU parliament backs whistleblower law

MEPs backed an EU law to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in both the public and private sectors. EU states will have two years to transpose the directive.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board


FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.


A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us