Food Engineering

European Commission suspends animal cloning

December 8, 2010
The temporary measure will last for five years and only affects cloning for food production.


Based on an October report, the European Commission is proposing a temporary suspension of animal cloning for food production in the EU. The commission also plans to suspend for five years the use of cloned farm animals and the marketing of food from clones.

The debate about the appropriateness of cloned animals for food purposes began a few years ago when cloned embryos were imported into the EU. According to current EU regulations, food produced from clones is considered novel food since it is not produced via traditional breeding techniques and, therefore, falls under the scope of the Regulation on Novel Foods, which is now under discussion at EU level.

The report is a response to calls from European Parliament and MemberStates to launch a specific EU policy on this sensitive issue. The communication presents an assessment of cloning technology in relation to food production and examines the relevant aspects of cloning in light of the existing legislative framework.

The report acknowledges the challenges posed by animal welfare issues and takes into consideration the ethical aspect of cloning. It also notes there is no scientific evidence confirming food safety concerns regarding foods obtained from cloned animals and their offspring.

The EC is calling for further study on the issues and a review after five years. The proposal will not suspend cloning for uses other than food, such as research, conservation of endangered species or the production of pharmaceuticals.