While admitting that death and disease rates in cloned animals are “significantly higher”, they claim it does not pose a danger to health.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said food products derived from clones was no different from conventionally bred animals. They also expect the proportion of unhealthy clones to decrease as clone technology improves.
Campaigners reacted angrily to the announcement. The Soil Association, which speaks for organic producers, said the rush to approve clone farming was being driven by pressure from the U.S. government, keen to boost the profits of the American companies behind the technology.
“Cloning involves ghastly and invasive techniques. The EFSA committee says there is no food safety issue, but how can they know? The research has not been done, said Soil Association policy manager, Gundula Azeez.
“When you have lots of clones dying at birth or suffering terrible malformations that should raise serious questions of food safety which need to be understood.”
“Major supermarkets have stressed that it is their policy not to stock cloned products but they could face an impossible task in identifying them unless the EU insists on a rigorous, costly system of labelling,” she added.
EFSA is launching a consultation on its draft opinion. Have your say via the EFSA website: Comments can be submitted until 25 February 2008.