August 2, 2010

Cloned Cow Milk Said To Be On Sale In Britain

British food safety officials said Monday they plan to investigate a claim that milk from the offspring of a cloned cow was on sale for public consumption.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is set to investigate a report in Friday's International Herald Tribune newspaper, and the disclosure has provoked concern among some farming campaigners.

However, the body that represents Britain's dairy industry said there was no danger.

The newspaper quoted a British dairy farmer saying that he was using milk from a cloned cow as part of his daily production.

The farm said this anonymously because he feared Britons saw cloning as "distasteful" so buyers would stop taking his milk if they knew who he was.

The FSA said in response that it regarded meat and products from cloned animals and their offspring as "novel foods" that need to be authorized before being put on sale.

"The agency has not received any applications relating to cloning and no authorizations have been made," a spokeswoman said.

"The agency will, of course, investigate any reports of unauthorized novel foods entering the food chain."

Peter Stevenson, from campaigners Compassion in World Farming, told AFP that he was "extremely concerned" at the report and called for an outright ban on the sale of food distribution of cloned animals.

He said: "The Food Standards Agency must act quickly to trace this milk and get it withdrawn from shops. The cloning of farm animals can involve great suffering."

Emma Hockridge of the Soil Association, which campaigns for organic farming, added there were other concerns related to the safety of products from cloned animals and that they could reduce genetic diversity.

However, Dairy U.K., which represents the industry in Britain, said there was no danger.

"Milk and meat from the offspring of clones does not present any food safety risk," it said in a statement.

"The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that there is no difference in food safety between meat and milk from the offspring of cloned animals and products from conventionally bred animals."


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