European Parliament - Mireille D'Ornano’s Questions & Answer: Food products from cloned animals

7 July 2016 - Mireille D'Ornano – [E-005570-16] - Subject: Food products from cloned animals:

In December 2013, the Commission put forward a proposal to ban animal cloning in the EU. In September 2015, Parliament broadened the scope of this proposal by recommending a ban on the sale of meat or milk from descendants of cloned animals and calling for traceability to be mandatory.

In November 2015, an expert report conceded that such products may have ended up on EU consumers' plates, as a result of meat, milk and genetic material — the latter used for animal breeding purposes in the EU — being imported from the US, China, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Australia.

In its 2008 report and 2009 and 2010 statements, the European Food Safety Authority outlined the health and welfare implications for cloned animals: high levels of mortality in gestation, difficult births and severe birth defects.

1. Does the Commission take the view that people in the EU have the right to know whether they are eating food products from cloned animals?

2. Will it acknowledge that cloning is detrimental to animal health and welfare?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission (12 August 2016):

«1. Food from animal clones is considered a novel food in the EU.  Until such time as specific legislation on food from animal clones[1] enters into force, food from animal clones falls under the scope of Regulation (EC) No 258/97 on novel foods. It therefore requires a pre-market approval including a safety evaluation and, if approved, it should be appropriately labelled for final consumption in accordance with the Union legislation in force.

2. The Commission, in its proposal for a Directive on the cloning of animals[2], did indeed take into account the findings included in the EFSA opinions mentioned by the Honourable Member to provisionally prohibit in the EU the cloning of animals and the imports of animal clones.».

[1] Proposal for a Council Directive on the placing on the market of food from clones (COM(2013)0893 final).
[2] Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the cloning of animals of the bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine species kept and reproduced for farming purposes (COM(2013) 0892 final)