The government of Switzerland has acknowledged that “several hundred” second or third-generation clones are now in the country, adding on its public health website: “dairy products and meat derived from such animals have probably been used in food then sold in Switzerland.”
It adds that other European countries face the same situation.
A New York Times article also quotes a British farmer who claims to be selling milk from a second generation clone.
The EU’s novel foods regulations stipulate that anyone wanting to sell products from clones must have approval to do so, but says nothing about the offspring of clones.
The European Parliament voted in favour of a ban on July 7, increasing the pressure on the European Commission to make it law.
Cloned animals suffered disproportionately highly from illnesses, malformations and premature death, according to Dutch MEP Kartika Liotard.
The practice of rearing cloned animals is widespread in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Argentina and the US, which export beef to the EU – more than £2 billion is imported annually from the States alone – as well as semen for cattle insemination.
A Food Standard Agency survey in 2008 found that most UK consumers did not want to see food products from cloned animals being sold in Britain.
French MEP Corinne Lepage said although safety concerns had yet to be identified, the technique of breeding cloned animals for meat “raises serious issues about animal welfare, reduction of biodiversity [and] ethical concerns.”