Cloned cattle investigation stirs row in Britain - Health & Families - Life and Style - The Independent

Cloned cattle investigation stirs row in Britain

Britain faced fresh questions over its food standards regime on Thursday after it emerged that meat from two offspring of a cloned cow had entered the food chain.

The two bulls whose meat was eaten by unwitting members of the public were among eight cattle conceived using embryos harvested from a cloned cow in the United States.

It is thought there may be more than 100 descendants of the cow in Britain and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the food safety watchdog, said late on Wednesday that it was trying to track down all of them.

While experts insist that eating meat from the descendants of cloned cows poses no known risk to human health, regulators are facing criticism for allowing the offspring of a cloned cow to be sold.

Britain has been hit by a number of farming scares in recent years, damaging the fortunes of its agricultural sector.

Perhaps the most notorious was an outbreak of BSE, also known as mad cow disease, which led to the culling of millions of animals and to the European Union introducing an export ban on British cattle and their meat in 1996. The ban was kept in place for 10 years.

Since then, there have been outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and, most recently, thousands of turkeys were slaughtered in 2007 after H5N1 avian flu was detected on a farm in eastern England.

Under European law, foodstuffs produced from cloned animals must pass a safety evaluation and gain authorisation before they are marketed.

The FSA is responsible for authorising "novel foods" such as meat and other products from clones and their offspring and said it had neither granted any such authorisations nor been asked to do so.

Its investigations started earlier this week after a newspaper report that milk from the offspring of a cloned cow had gone on sale to the public.

But as it carried out this investigation, it discovered that meat from one bull, Dundee Paratrooper, which was slaughtered in July last year, had entered the food chain.

Local council officials identified its owner as farmer Callum Innes of Auldearn in northern Scotland.

Hours later, it also confirmed that meat from Parable, another bull which was slaughtered in May this year, was likely to have been eaten.

Records from Holstein UK, the body responsible for registering all of the breed's pedigree cows and bulls on farms, revealed that three of the cattle born from the US clone had produced 97 calves.

Smiddiehill Paratrooper had 38 offspring, Smiddiehill Perfect had 58, while Smiddiehill Dundee Paradise had one, according to details on the website.

A spokesman for the FSA told AFP that its investigations were continuing and that it was working to trace all of the offspring, though it could not confirm how many there were.

It had previously admitted that it did not know how many embryos from cloned animals had come into Britain from abroad.

The FSA is facing growing criticism for its handling of the affair, with the Daily Telegraph questioning in an editorial its ability "to act as an effective watchdog of the food industry".

"The lesson of the mishandling of BSE in beef cattle and salmonella in egg production is that a scare story can flare quickly to the point where public confidence is undermined and the farming industry is affected, damaging foreign trade," added The Herald, one of Scotland's national newspapers.

"It is worrying, therefore, that regulators appear to have been caught napping with regard to cloned cattle."

kah-sr/pcj/co

 

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Science Teacher required for a lovely Ramsgate Secondary School

    Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

    SEN Teacher

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher loo...

    Teacher

    £110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

    Year 2 Teacher and Group Lead

    £110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week