The European Group on Ethics in new technologies has voiced strong doubts about food products from cloned animals.
The EGE says it is not convinced that food production from clones is justified, citing considerations over animal suffering in an opinion delivered to the European Commission.
Experts concede that “Death and disease rates of clones are significantly higher than in normal animals.”
The European Food Safety Authority last week said meat and milk from healthy cattle and pig clones were probably safe for human consumption.
But a Commission spokeswoman played down the EFSA conclusion as “preliminary”:
“Clone products are not commercialised in Europe, what we have in Europe is clones for research purposes, but no commercial products.”
The European Commission has promised to consult consumers on the products’ acceptability.
Earlier this week, the United States’ food safety authority approved meat and milk from cloned animals.
The US Food and Drug Administration said it will not require food made from cloned animals or their offspring to be specially labelled.
However, the Agriculture Department asked the cloning industry to extend a voluntary ban on marketing food from the animals during a transition period.
A European public consultation report is expected in May.