Cloning controversy rages on

 

LONDON—European Union talks to set rules
on using food from cloned animals collapsed after EU lawmakers failed in
all-night talks with the European Council and European Commission to reach a
compromise on labelling cloned food.

EU parliamentary representatives said
they were prepared to drop demands for a ban on food from descendants of cloned
animals bred by conventional methods, as long as any such products were clearly
labelled.

But the Council and the European
Commission, the EU’s executive arm, rejected the ban on food from offspring and
agreed to label only fresh beef products, saying parliament’s proposals would
be too costly and could create friction with trading partners like the U.S.,
which allow such foods.

The stalemate means the existing
14-year-old regulation will remain in force and the proposals will be sent back
for redrafting, a process some lawmakers say could take years.

The commission is now expected to
propose separate regulation to control the use of cloning in Europe.

Cloning, which uses DNA transfer to
create an exact genetic copy of an animal, isn’t widespread in Europe and there
are no rules to allow or ban food from the offspring of cloned livestock.

“European public opinion is
overwhelmingly against cloning for food; a commitment to label all food
products from cloned offspring is a bare minimum,” the chair of the parliament’s
delegation to the talks, Gianni Pittella, and the rapporteur on novel foods,
Kartika Liotard, said in a joint statement.

They cited a survey
showing 63 per cent of EU citizens are unlikely to buy food from cloned
animals, while 61 per cent find animal cloning morally wrong.

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