Food Law News - EU - 2008

EFSA Press Release, 24 July 2008

CLONING - EFSA adopts final scientific opinion on animal cloning

EFSA has today published its final scientific opinion on the implications of animal cloning on food safety, animal health and welfare and the environment. EFSA's opinion follows a request from the European Commission (EC) to EFSA for advice on this issue in February 2007 and public consultation on a draft opinion earlier this year [see Note 1 below].

Prof. Vittorio Silano, chair of EFSA's Scientific Committee [see Note 2 below], said:

“It is clear there are significant animal health and welfare issues for surrogate mothers and clones that can be more frequent and severe than for conventionally bred animals. For cattle and pigs, food safety concerns are considered unlikely. No clear evidence has emerged to suggest any differences between food products from clones or their offspring, in terms of food safety, compared to products from conventionally bred animals. But we must acknowledge that the evidence base, while growing and showing consistent findings, is still small. That has been one of the challenges throughout this work.”

Some of the key conclusions of the opinion include:

Prof. Silano added:

“EFSA cannot always offer simple answers or reassurances. Complex and evolving science and technology, where data can be limited, do not offer such neat solutions. Our advice is guided by the science and will help inform consideration of any future EU measures in relation to animal clones and products obtained from these animals and their offspring.”

Recommendations in the opinion include:


[1] The European Groups on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) has also produced an opinion which addressed ethical issues around this subject.

[2] EFSA's Scientific Committee (SC) comprises the 10 chairs of EFSA's Scientific Panels which cover all areas of EFSA's mandate. It also includes six additional independent scientists. Appointments are made on the basis of proven scientific excellence following an open call for applications and a rigorous selection procedure. The SC has led this work as it is a multi-disciplinary issue relevant to a number of the Panels' respective areas of expertise.

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