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Cloned cow may have 100 descendants

The cloned cow whose offspring entered the British food chain could have more than 100 descendants in the UK, records suggest.

The Food Standards Agency indicated it would look at the possibility of tracing "third generation clones" after confirming two cloned offspring had found their way on to British dinner plates.

Amid fears that even more cloned meat could have found its way on to shop shelves, it emerged three cattle born from the American clone - whose pedigree name is Vandyk K Integ Paradise 2 - had produced 97 calves. Smiddiehill Paratrooper had 38 offspring, Smiddiehill Perfect had 58, while Smiddiehill Dundee Paradise had one, details on the Holstein UK website showed.

Smiddiehill Paratrooper's offspring were all born after August last year, while Smiddiehill Perfect's trace back to July last year. Smiddiehill Dundee Paradise's single offspring was registered in April last year, according to the website.

News that another sibling Parable, which was born in May 2007 and slaughtered on May 5 2010, entered the food chain follows confirmation that meat from another of the bulls, Dundee Paratrooper, entered the food chain in 2009. The FSA said meat from both animals will have been eaten, but stressed there was no evidence of a safety risk.

The FSA also confirmed that Dundee Paradise remained part of a dairy herd on a UK farm, but there was no evidence milk from the animal had entered the food chain.

Earlier, the owner of one of the bulls which entered the food chain insisted he had done nothing wrong. Farmer Callum Innes, who has a herd of Holstein cows, bought two bulls produced by the cloned cow from a farm in Shropshire.

Mr Innes's son Steven, who helps run the farm at Auldearn, near Inverness, confirmed the bulls were bought in February 2008. He said: "We investigated whether this was legal at the time and understood that there was no issue. We have acted in good faith throughout and we've been fully compliant with the relevant authorities' wishes and shall continue to be fully co-operative in order to resolve the situation as soon as possible."

NFU Scotland insisted Mr Innes attempted to clarify the situation beforehand.

The FSA admitted it did not know how many embryos from cloned animals have been imported into Britain. But FSA chief executive Tim Smith insisted there were no health risks associated with eating meat or drinking milk from the descendants of cloned cows.


From Belfast Telegraph