The European Commission (EC) recently proposed two draft directives that would prohibit the cloning of farm animals in the European Union (EU) as well as the importation of cloned animals. Designed to address animal welfare concerns and provide “legal certainty in this field,” the first directive would temporarily ban cloning techniques and the sale of live animal and embryo clones for commercial purposes, while the second directive would ensure that “food such as meat or milk from animal clones is not placed on the EU market.”
At the same time, the Commission has also proposed revising current regulations to centralize the novel food authorization procedure at the EU level “with a view to improving access of new and innovative food to the EU market, while still maintaining a high level of consumer protection.” Under these revised rules, the European Food Safety Authority would perform the risk assessment for the novel food application while the Commission would be responsible for managing applicant files and forwarding the authorization of novel foods found to be safe. In addition, the proposal would expedite the authorization process for foods that are not yet marketed in the European Union but have a history of safe use in other countries.
“Today’s initiatives on animal cloning respond to animal welfare concerns as well as consumer perceptions on food from animal clones in a realistic and workable way,” EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said in a December 18,2013, press release. “The changes on novel food will create a more efficient system. It will offer EU consumers the benefit of a broad choice of foodstuffs and provides a favorable environment for Europe’s food industry.” See Euro- pean Commission’s FAQ on Animal Cloning and Novel Food Proposals, December 18, 2013