Cloned animals offer no food safety risk, panel advises

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Milk and meat from cloned cattle are no different from the comparable products of conventionally bred animals, according to an investigation by a panel of independent scientists who also found that there was little evidence to suggest a food safety risk from the offspring of cloned cattle.

Members of the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes were asked by the Government's Food Standards Agency to review the potential dangers after concerns earlier this year that cloned cattle from the United States had ended up in the human food chain in Britain.

"The [committee] has confirmed that meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring shows no substantial difference to conventionally produced meat and milk and therefore is unlikely to present a food safety risk," said Andrew Wadge, the chief scientist at the Food Standards Agency.

Brendan Curran, a geneticist at Queen Mary, University of London, said the findings were in line with studies by the US Food and Drug Administration which ruled in 2008 that products from cloned cattle and their offspring were indistinguishable from those from ordinary animals.

"They have continued to review the evidence, and to date there has been no suggestion that these products should be excluded from the human food chain," Dr Curran said.