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Cloning and the food chain - is it safe?

Cloning and the food chain - is it safe?
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It’s emerged that 100 cows in a Scottish herd have been sired by bulls who are themselves the offspring of a cloned animal in the US.

They are at the centre of a row in the UK over cloning and the production of food.

The two bulls from the cloned US embryos were raised in the UK and meat from one entered the food chain.

The farmers say they acted in good faith and have done everything to comply with the authorities:

“The emerging evidence that’s gained for us by our risk assessment process and done by our European colleagues in terms of coming to a conclusion about whether these foods are safe to eat from a food safety point of view – the emerging evidence is that they are fine. But we would like to build up, and I am sure that all of us across Europe would like to build, a bigger body of evidence before we actually reach that firm conclusion.” said Tim Smith from the Food Standards Agency.

Produce from cloned animals has been allowed in the US since 2008. However, Brussels is more circumspect.

Last month, MEPs voted in favour of legislation banning cloned meat and other animal products in the EU food supply.

US biotechnology companies clone cows to give offspring with higher yields of meat and milk.

But questions about consumer safety and animal welfare will clearly not go away.