FSA News Item, 2 August 2010
There have been recent reports in the media that milk from the offspring of cloned bovines is on sale in the UK. Since 2007, the Food Standards Agency’s interpretation of the law has been that meat and products from clones and their offspring are considered novel foods and would therefore need to be authorised before being placed on the market.
Based on the best available evidence, there are no food safety concerns surrounding consumption of products from healthy clones or their offspring.
The European Food Safety Authority issued an opinion in 2008 which stated that: '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.'
It is the responsibility of food business operators to ensure food that they place on the market is in compliance with the law. As the UK authority responsible for accepting novel food applications, the Agency has not received any applications relating to cloning and no authorisations have been made. The Agency will, of course, investigate any reports of unauthorised novel foods entering the food chain.
What is a novel food?
A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997. Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by the Advisory Committee for Novel Food and Processes, an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency.