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Industry 'confident' on cloned milk

A UK dairy industry body says it is "confident" no milk from the offspring of cloned animals has entered the human food chain.

DairyCo said a British farmer had denied reports that he is selling milk produced by a cow born of a clone - something banned without Food Standards Agency (FSA) approval.

The farmer, who has not been named, told DairyCo he was only using the offspring of a cloned pedigree Holstein cow to create embryos for sale abroad.

The industry body said it had been assured the cows' milk would not enter the human or animal food chains, and would not even be used to feed the animals' own calves.

The FSA launched an investigation into reports that the farmer had admitted using the milk in his daily production without labelling it as from the offspring of a cloned cow.

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

But the FSA, the UK body responsible for the assessment of "novel foods" produced by cloned animals and their offspring, said it had neither made any authorisations nor been asked to do so.

DairyCo, previously called the Milk Development Council, said in a statement: "DairyCo is confident that no milk from the offspring of cloned animals has entered the human food chain. The Food Standards Agency interprets milk from the offspring of cloned animals as a 'novel food' and therefore requires authorisation before being placed on the market.

"However, experts agree that there is no risk to human health from such products: the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducted a review of cloning in July 2008 and concluded that 'there is no indication that differences exist in terms of food safety for meat and milk of clones or their progeny compared with those from conventionally bred animals'."

A Defra spokeswoman said the department was aware of two cattle in the UK bred from clones, as well as a third that is now dead - but admitted there could be others that are unrecorded.


From Belfast Telegraph