The European Commission today set out proposals governing the use of cloning in food production. The Greens hit out at the proposals, with Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes stating:
"The Commission has today cleared the way for the use of clones and their descendants in food production despite the serious concerns that remain. To compound the matter, it has not even made proposals as regards the labelling of foods produced from clones or their offspring. This is totally irresponsible. The Commission is ignoring the evidence in claiming that there are no food safety or animal welfare concerns for food from clones and their offspring.
"It is obvious that this proposal was highly influenced by external influences, notably in the context of on-going negotiations on a trade agreement with the US. The icing on the cake, however, is the legislative procedure proposed by the Commission, which would prevent the European Parliament from acting as a co-decider on the legislation. Given it was Parliament that has been consistently calling for legislation, to then exclude it from decision-making would be a blow for the democratic process in the EU.
"The Greens believe that the EU should ban the use of clones and, crucially, their descendants in food production immediately, as only this approach will ensure the concerns are properly addressed. In a time of rapid reduction of genetic diversity and increasing dependence of our food production on an ever-narrower range of species, the last thing we need is livestock that are all the same genetically. Genetic uniformity seriously undermines species' resistance to disease and is inimical to long term food security. There are also major animal welfare concerns as cloned animals have a much higher rate of mortality and foetal losses during pregnancy. The only sure-fire way to address these concerns is to ban cloning in food and we will now redouble our efforts to ensure the Commission is thwarted in its plans."