EU lawmakers on Wednesday backed a ban on cloning farm animals and products derived from them, citing deep public unease at the prospect they could make it onto supermarket shelves.
The European Parliament’s environment and agriculture committees said proposals submitted by the European Commission had to be stronger to meet concerns over cloning and ‘franken-foods’ in the 28-nation bloc.
“Due to the negative effects on animal welfare, cloning for farming purposes is rejected by a large majority of consumers,” a parliament statement said.
MEPs said the ban should also apply to cloned animals’ “reproductive material (semen and embryos), their descendants and any products derived from them, including imports.”
The committees’ recommendations passed with 82 votes for and eight against, and now go to a full Parliament vote in early September when they are likely to attract considerable support.
Cloning along with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are viewed with deep suspicion by many in the European Union, and especially in parliament where they are largely associated with giant U.S. agro-industry companies looking to get into the EU market.
To date, cloned farm animals — which are hugely expensive — are not used for food but for breeding purposes, with their embryos and semen exported widely in the United States, Argentina and Uruguay without a tracing system.
The European Commission’s proposal bans farm animal cloning but would allow the sale of meat and milk from their descendants.
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