Food From Cloned Animals Consultation Launched

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, has welcomed the launch of a public consultation on the troublesome issue of food obtained from cloned animals and their offspring, and encouraged Scots to make their opinions known.

The consultation, which will run until 3 September, questions stakeholders on the following five scenarios: 1. retain the current legal framework (Regulation (EC) 258/97 on novel foods and novel food ingredients); 2. allow the use of the cloning technique in the EU for food production; 3. temporarily ban food from clones in the EU and set up tracing of imports of clone reproductive materials; 4. temporarily ban food from clones in the EU and impose mandatory labelling of food from clone offspring and descendants; and 5. temporarily ban food from clones, offspring and descendants.

The European Commission aims to present a legislative proposal (planned for 2013) on cloning in food products.

Alyn said:

"It hasn't taken long for this issue to come back round again, but the Commission is being smart this time. Trying to roll this issue into various other matters regarding food safety did not afford it the attention it warranted, and I think a public consultation is a better way of going about it if we are serious about maintaining consumer confidence.

"It is my opinion that consumer safety, and hence consumer confidence, must come first, and while there is nothing stopping research taking place in the lab, the consumers of Europe have every right to know what they are, and are not, eating. As technology develops, so can the law, but in the meantime until new technologies are proven to be safe then they stay in the lab, not the kitchen.

"Absolutely, new technologies have the potential to open up all sorts of possibilities, but the reality is that while they remain unproven then they need to be strictly controlled.

"I hope to see many Scots lodging their opinions with the Commission on this important issue."

The consultation comes in the context of the impact study on possible measures on animal cloning for food production in the EU. This is not the first time the EU has tried to legislate on this issue. At present, only food obtained from clones is regulated in EU law. Under Regulation (EC) 258/97, such food products must obtain pre-market authorisation. However, there is no EU legislation on food obtained from the offspring of cloned animals.

The consultation is at