EFSA issued the call for new data in preparation for an update it plans to give the European Commission on scientific developments related to cloning animals for food production purposes. This work follows on from the last statement that EFSA provided in July 2009.
Health and welfare
EFSA is therefore looking for information which has become available since June 2009. In particular, the food safety body is interested in material on food producing animal clones regarding their health and welfare during production life, taking into consideration natural life span.
Additional information of interest to EFSA includes any of the following related topics:
- Health and welfare of the surrogate mother and the animal clone;
- What extent epigenetic dysregulation occurring in clones is transmitted to progeny (offspring);
- Characterisation of the genetic make-up of animal clones, considering both intranuclear and extranuclear (mitochondrial) genetic material;
- Comparative physiology of clones and conventional animals, including reproductive capacity;
- Safety of consumption of animal clones and their products (meat, milk products, eggs), including compositional and nutritional characteristics;
- Information on the causes of pathologies and mortality observed in clones during the gestational and juvenile periods and those observed at a lower frequency in adulthood;
- Information related to the areas above on the offspring of animal clones.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) recently voted to entirely exclude food derived from cloned animals and their offspring from draft novel foods legislation. This legislation covers food that has not been consumed to any significant degree in the EU before May 1997.
Instead, the MEPs called for a moratorium on animal cloning and urged the European Commission to develop a separate proposal on the regulatory framework for cloned farm animals.
Health and welfare concerns, especially related to illness and premature death among the offspring of clones, and ethical unease from the general public have so far kept food from cloned farm animals away from EU supermarket shelves.