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Cloned meat has entered the food chain, says FSA

Meat from the offspring of a cloned cow entered the food chain last year, probably in pies or burgers sold in Scotland, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said yesterday.

The admission came after two days of denials from the FSA and the dairy industry that milk or meat from cloned animals or their offspring had entered the food chain.

On Monday a British dairy farmer said he used milk from a cow produced from a cloned parent. An FSA spokeswoman said that as part of its investigation "the agency has traced two bulls born in the UK from embryos harvested from a cloned cow in the US. Both... have been slaughtered. Meat from [the second] animal entered the food chain and will have been eaten."

Under European law, foodstuffs produced from cloned animals must pass a safety evaluation and gain authorisation. The FSA, the body responsible for such assessment in the UK, has not been asked to consider any cases.

There is no evidence that cloned products are dangerous to eat.

An EU official said that as the import of semen from cloned animals was not restricted it was possible that thousands of pigs and cows in Europe are the offspring of cloned animals.