Clone food ‘in all our shops within two years’ watchdog reveals
By Sean Poulter
16 December 2010
Article source: MailOnline
Food and animals of clone origin could be secretly spread across supermarket shelves and farms within two years, watchdogs admitted yesterday
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) board said it would be impossible to set up a regime to trace and label food from ‘Frankenfarm’ animals
It claimed the international trade in embryos and semen from clone animals is already so widespread that it cannot be stopped or regulated. As a result, consumers could soon be routinely eating meat and milk from the offspring of cloned cattle without knowing about it.
In an astonishing admission, the FSA chairman, Lord Jeff Rooker, said: ‘You can’t regulate what you can’t count and what you can’t check on . Thatisan impossibility. ‘How can we prevent the public being misled? We can’t on this.’
The watchdog’s chief executive, Tim Smith, suggested clone origin offspring could be widespread on farms without anyone knowing their location within two years. And clone origin food is already on sale in this country, according to the president of the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland, Jim McLaren.
He said: ‘It’s happening everywhere else in the world and it’s happening in this country – it’s in imported products, it’s already here.’ He added that the law should be changed to legalise the sale of food from clone descendants on the basis ‘there is no food safety issue’.
The news will alarm consumers who have made it clear in FSA and EU research that they do not want to eat food from clones or their offspring. People objected to what was seen as interfering with nature.
How the Mail broke the story
Separately, animal welfare groups opposed to cloning, which include Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA, described the FSA’s stance as an ‘utter scandal’.
To date, no food safety risks have been linked to cloning. However, the technology throws up serious ethical and welfare questions, with evidence of miscarriages, deformities and gigantism.
The FSA board meeting in Aberdeen controversially rejected the idea of setting up a regime to identify and trace clone farm animals and their offspring. Such a system would have allowed supermarkets to identify and label any food from clones and their descendants.
The board is made up of a collection of food industry, scientific and consumer representatives. But its members yesterday tore up any pretence that people have a right to know what they are eating.
They said that the international trade in semen and embryos from cloned animals created in north and south America and beyond was effectively impossible to police. And they argued that the cost of setting up a tracing regime would be too difficult and expensive.
Last month, the Daily Mail revealed that meat from three clone offspring animals had gone into the food chain in Britain and Europe in the past year. The FSA said that this was illegal under EU law.
However, it is now suggesting that this could be commonplace within a few years. Peter Stevenson, chief policy adviser to Compassion in World Farming, rejected the claim it was too late to stop clone farming and food.
He said: ‘Yes, cloning is with us, but we are still at a stage where it is possible for us as a society to say we don’t want it on animal welfare grounds. ‘The FSA’s line is an utter scandal. It is bogus to say clone animals and food can’t be traced.
The FSA is betraying its founding principle of representing consumer interests.’ Earlier this year, the EU voted for a total ban on clone farming and food. The Government has yet to announce its policy on clone food.
Now they’re cloning cows from cattle that are dead
By Daniel Bates
16 August 2010
Cattle destined for the food chain in the U.S. are being cloned from dead animals.
Technicians take samples from slaughtered cows to assess meat quality, and cells from the best are used to grow clones.
Researchers across the Atlantic said that Britain would have to put its reservations aside and adopt the controversial ‘resurrection’ practice or fall behind the rest of the world in food production.
The development comes after it emerged that three animals descended from cloned cows have found their way into the food chain in Britain, with dozens more living on farms across the country.
All were descended from embryos of a cloned ‘supercalf ‘ that was created in the United States, where official regulators have said that cloned meat and milk is as safe as normal produce.
American scientists are far ahead of Britain on animal cloning and are replicating exceptional animals as breeding stock with the aim of improving the quality of beef, dairy and pig herds.
They use a range of techniques to make this assessment including productivity, longevity or meat quality, which cannot be done until the animal has been slaughtered.
The ‘resurrection’ technique is being carried out by leading animal cloning company J R Simplot. Brady Hicks of the Idaho-based firm said: ‘the animals are hanging on a rail ready to go to the meat counter.
‘We identify carcasses that have certain characteristics that we want, but it’s too late to reproduce the genetics of the animal. But through cloning we can resurrect that animal.’
In America cloned meat has entered the food chain on a small scale. There are roughly 1,000 clones among 100million cattle, and farmers are still working out if it is economically viable.
Despite the ruling by the U.S. Food and Drug administration that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe to eat, supermarkets in the U.S. such as Whole Foods have placed a blanket ban on any cloned products.
However Mark Walton, president of the leading American animal cloning company ViaGen, said that the use of cloning in agriculture will eventually become the norm across the world.
‘If I were a European farmer and my competitors in the U.S., China and South America were using the technology, I’d be concerned about losing all access to it,’ he said.
There is no evidence that meat from a clone or its offspring can cause any harm to health, although the European Food Safety authority has flagged up a need for more research on this.
Opposition in Britain centres on whether the process is ethical and concerns that cloning can lead to animal suffering. There is evidence of miscarriages, early deaths, deformed organs and gigantism, where the young grow so large they have to be delivered by caesarean.
Artificial meat grown in the laboratory could be on supermarket shelves in just a decade, experts believe.
Produced in huge vats from muscle cells, the fake pork chops, sirloin steak and sausages would be kinder to the environment and to livestock than the real thing, say scientists.
But it remains to be seen whether the fake meat, said to have the texture of a scallop, will be popular with the public.
The method invented by Dutch government-funded scientists involves incubating muscle cells extracted from pigs in a protein ‘broth’.
The cells multiply and create a sticky tissue with the consistency of an undercooked egg. this is bulked up by passing an electrical current through it.
The fledgling technology is highlighted in a discussion paper in the journal Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society B.
Now clone veal’s on the menu: First milk, then beef… how much more food from supercalves is in our shops?
By Sean Poulter
12 August 2010
Controversy over clone meat deepened last night when food watchdogs revealed that illegal veal has been sold to unsuspecting shoppers.
The Food Standards Agency said a month-old bull calf had been slaughtered then sold by a London butcher.
It is the third animal descended from a cloned cow to reach the food chain.
The disclosure came more than a week after the agency began investigating whether shoppers have illegally been sold milk or meat from cattle descended from a cow cloned in the U.S.
The length of time it has taken to identify the source will raise concerns over whether more such meat has entered the food chain and whether it could reach shops and restaurants.
The farmer who sold the calf for slaughter could now face prosecution for breaching regulations on the sale of cattle descended from a cloned cow.
But the FSA refused to name the butcher who had unwittingly sold the veal in June this year. The bull calf is the third clone animal to enter the food chain.
The agency said it had now established that beef from a bull – Dundee Paratrooper – was sold by four independent butchers in Scotland and a single butcher’s shop in North-East England in July last year.
Meat from a second bull – Dundee Parable – was sent to Belgium in May this year.
Food watchdogs there have been alerted. The FSA has also been investigating whether milk from a number of cows with clone origins has gone into the food chain.
Britain has a legal ban on meat and milk from clones and their offspring Clone.
Anyone guilty of breaching this rule faces prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000. It has received assurances from the farmers, local authorities who visited the farms and the dairy industry that this did not happen.
However, the authorities are effectively relying on the word of the farmers. The FSA’s refusal to name the outlets where any of the meat was sold – as well as the farms and abattoirs involved – leaves consumers completely in the dark and exposes it to claims of a cover-up.
It said it had now traced all of the calves born in the UK from eight embryos from a cloned cow in the U.S.. The clone cow itself was created using cells taken from the ear of a prize-winning Holstein.
The embryos were implanted into surrogate mothers in this country and the first of these to be born was Dundee Paradise – in December 2006.
Five of the eight animals had produced offspring, which were all too young to have been milked or used for breeding.
However, one male calf had become the third to enter the food chain. It was slaughtered on June 16, a month after being born.
Its birth would have meant its mother would produced milk, which it would be illegal to sell. It seems that none of the butchers who sold the beef knew about its background, so they are not at fault and there is no risk of prosecution.
However, there are three farmers who sent animals with a clone background for slaughter who may face prosecution. One of these is Callum Innes, who farms Scotland’s biggest herd of Holstein cows near Nairn with his sons.
The Innes family currently have some 96 young cows on their farm which are the descendants of clones. It is not known what will happen to them.
There is no evidence that meat from a clone or its offspring can cause any harm to health. Dundee Paradise: The first calf to be born from a cloned cow.
However, the European Food Safety Authority has flagged up a need for more research on this. Opposition in Britain and Europe centres on whether the process is ethical and concerns that cloning can lead to animal suffering.
There is evidence of miscarriages, early deaths, deformed organs and gigantism, where the young grow so large they have to be delivered by caesarian.
Peter Stevenson of Compassion in World Farming said: ‘British consumers have the right to know whether they have eaten this meat. Providing the names of the outlets involved is the very least that people deserve from an Agency that promises openness and transparency. No one is saying the butchers were at fault, but consumers have a right to know.’
The Agency said it is discussing whether the names of the farmers, abattoirs and butchers should be made public. Sources suggested there are concerns that animal rights campaigners could target the farmers involved.
However, critics will see this as a smokescreen to protect the industry. The Agency said: ‘The FSA is an organisation whose essential purpose is to protect the interests of consumers.
‘We are committed to openness as a way of gaining and maintaining consumers’ confidence.’ However, it said there are special circumstances that make it difficult to name names.
‘Some of those involved in the investigation were not aware, and could not reasonably be expected to have been aware that the animals in question were the offspring of clones,’ it said.
The FSA said it is writing to all of those whose identity might be revealed as a result of the investigation to ask whether they have any objections. A decision will then be made on whether to go public by the middle of next week.
Research shows that some 87 per cent of Britons believe we don’t know enough about the long-term health and safety effects of eating food from these animals.
Meat from THREE cloned cows has entered food chain, reveals watchdog
By Sean Poulter
11 August 2010
Meat from clone origin animals has been illegally sold by butchers stretching from London to Scotland and Belgium, it has been revealed. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provided more details on the number of animals involved and where the meat had been sold. The revelations make clear that clone farming has arrived by stealth on British farms despite the fact it is illegal and clear opposition from consumers.
The watchdog had previously revealed that meat from two clone origin bulls had been eaten. It said that meat from a third animal – a young calf – had been sold by a London butcher in June this year. Meat from the first bull – Dundee Paratrooper, was sold via four butchers’ premises in Scotland and a single butcher’s shop in North East England in July last year. Meat from the second bull – Dundee Parable – was sent to Belgium in May this year.
Food watchdogs in the country have been alerted. The FSA has investigated whether milk from a number of cows with clone origins has gone into the food chain. It has received assurances from the relevant farmers, local authorities who visited the farms and the dairy industry that this did not happen. However, the authorities are effectively relying on the word of the farmers involved and cannot provide an absolute guarantee. There is no evidence that meat from a clone or its offspring can cause any harm to health. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has flagged up a need for more research on this.
Opposition in Britain and Europe centres on whether the process is ethical and concerns that cloning can lead to animal suffering. There is evidence of miscarriages, early deaths, deformed organs and gigantism, where the young grow so large they have to be delivered by caesarian. Britain has a legal ban on meat and milk from clones and their offspring.
Anyone guilty of breaching this rule faces prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000. It seems that none of the butchers who sold the beef knew about its background, consequently there is no risk of prosecution for them. However, there are three farmers who sent animals with a clone background for slaughter who may face prosecution. One of these is Callum Innes, who farms Scotland’s biggest herd of Holstein cows near Nairn with his sons.
The Innes family currently have around 96 young cows on their farm which are the descendants of clones. It is not known what will happen to them. The identity and location of the other two farmers is currently being held back by the FSA. The Agency is considering whether to name the farmers, abattoirs and butchers involved. The arrival of clone farming in Britain can be traced to the import of eight frozen embryos from the USA in 2006. The embryos were taken from a clone cow who was herself created using cells taken from the ear of a prize-winning Holstein in the USA.
The embryos were implanted into surrogate mothers in this country and some some four male and four female cows were born. Five of these have gone on to breed, producing more than 100 other calves now living on British farms from Wales to Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Scotland. All of this happened behind the backs of British consumers and supermarkets. Research shows that some 87 per cent of Britons believe we don’t know enough about the long-term health and safety effects of eating food from these animals.
The vast majority – 75 per cent – said it was important to take ethics into account when deciding whether to proceed with clone farming. While 62 per cent said it was unacceptable to use cloning for food production as it treats animals as commodities rather than living beings. Supermarkets have made clear that they do not want to sell meat and milk from clones and their offspring. The European Parliament recently voted for a ban on food from clone animals and their offspring. This threatens a trade war with the USA, where cloning is much more widespread, if their imports are banned from Europe.
The Food Standards Agency is now in talks with consumer and welfare groups in this country and the European Commission on how cloning should be policed. It is certain that if the European and British authorities allow cloning in farming and food, consumers will want any resulting products to be labelled.
The ethics of cloning versus the reality of starvation
1 July 2009
Article source: Just Food Now
Websters provides the simplest definition of the word cloning when it explains it as: “the technique of producing a genetically identical duplicate of an organism by replacing the nucleus of an unfertilized ovum with the nucleus of a body cell from the organism” The Americans have been cloning cattle for years with great success and little fuss, providing for the burgeoning market as effectively as possible. In the current day and age food – or the lack of it – has become a huge problem and the issue of feeding over a billion starving people is something that cannot be swept under the carpet and forgotten until the next crisis hits the headlines.
Every day is a crisis in Africa and every day millions of children are starving to death. Starvation is painful and death from it, not merciful – children live in abject agony until death takes away their suffering. What get’s me is that all this happens while the rest of the world struggles with obesity. It seems so sick somehow. The Spiegel pointed out, quite correctly last night, that “anyone who considers creation sacred should make sure they never talk to a cattle breeder. In-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination and embryo transfer are the terms of their trade.
And now another word from the lexicon of reproductive medicine has joined the breeder’s jargon: cloning“. At long last the European agricultural ministers decided that it was okay to allow cloned meat on the European market and everyone is up in arms. What is so cruel about cloning? Where is it more cruel than the in-vitro fertilization of human beings, at which point does it become cruel and at which point will it harm humans more than any other meat? Surely, if a man like Heiner Niemann from the Loeffler Institute thinks it’s okay, it certainly will be – he is considerably more qualified to make the decision that the hysterical groups that are condemning something of which they know absolutely nothing.
I challenge those groups to spend some time in Zimbabwe or the Sudan and tell those children that, unfortunately, they will spend yet another night without food because the cloned food is not ethical but starving is or do those objectors merely want to have their day in the media first? Is it more ethical to let this child die? The Americans are fanatical about health and there is no way the FDA would allow a single American to eat anything that could possibly be disadvantageous to their health and whilst I don’t like the American politics all of the time, their science cannot be faulted.
The world has to stop being precious now and start considering the real crisis – the crisis that sees children die in agony every day because they have no food whilst those that have so much to say sit behind laden tables to theorize. The problems encountered with the first cloned sheep have long been resolved and anyway, the meat that lands up in the supermarkets or the butcheries is no longer cloned meat because it is the meat of the ‘cloned animals’ offspring‘. Why else would the American FDA as well as the European EFSA approve it? It was pointed out to me this morning that it does seem strange that in Europe, where there is more than enough food, we find the cloned meat but yet in the countries where there is chronic food shortages, there is nothing – not even cloned meat.
It will only be a matter of time before “cloned” meat is found on European supermarket shelves and since it can’t be distinguished from normal meat, the reaction could be interesting – “the European Parliament needs to decide soon, before American products start landing on the European market unnoticed”. I pray that the it will soon be “ on the verge of widespread commercial use” because knowing that small children starve to death every single day while I eat, is hardly appetising.