Friday, 25 July 2008

European panel fails to endorse milk and meat from clones

European panel fails to endorse milk and meat from clones
BRUSSELS: The European Food Safety Authority pulled back Thursday from giving milk and meat from cloned animals a clean bill of health, making it less likely that such products could reach store shelves in Europe anytime soon.The final report from the authority, an independent advisory body, was less reassuring about safety than a draft in January. It comes after an earlier, negative assessment from a European ethics committee. The European Commission, which must decide whether to approve such products, will take both reports into account.The findings also contrast with those of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which concluded this year that such products were safe - although a voluntary moratorium on marketing them remains in place.Europeans seem likely to take an even more cautious approach similar to that followed with genetically modified crops - which has led to years of trade friction with the United States. Surveys show resistance in Europe to biotechnology remains high, especially when it comes to food.While cloning animals is still a young and inefficient technology, scientists expect it to improve greatly in the coming years. In theory, the procedure can produce meatier cows or pigs that are better able to resist diseases.
But in its statement Thursday, the authority said that "uncertainties in the risk assessment arise due to the limited number of studies available, the small sample sizes investigated and, in general, the absence of a uniform approach that would allow all the issues relevant to this opinion to be more satisfactorily addressed."

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