Cloned pigs, cattle and goats may be used as sources of food in the US, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved their meat and milk as safe. The FDA’s study took six years, but could not reach a conclusion on sheep products due to lack of data.

Cloned animal products are not expected to go on sale for a while due to the cost; it is thought that clones will first be used for breeding.

The FDA’s conclusion is almost identical to the draft conclusion it issued in December 2006: further research has apparently strengthened its views.

Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said: After reviewing additional data and the public comments in the intervening year since the release of our draft documents on cloning, we conclude that meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones are as safe as the food we eat every day.’

Cloned animal products will not have to be labelled as such, which has angered the US pressure group, Center for Food Safety. Spokesman Andrew Kimbrell said: ‘The FDA’s bull-headed action disregards the will of the public and the Senate and opens a literal Pandora’s Box.’

European evaluation of cloned animal products is still at a very early stage, with cloned produce still banned in Britain, but a recent public consulation by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) concluded that food from cloned pigs and cattle is essentially identical to that from conventionally bred animals.

The EU, however, has decided that if products from cloned animals were approved, they would have to be labelled – which is not how the US intends to proceed.

The FDA has approved the use of meat and milk from cloned pigs, cattle and goats as safe. The FDA study took six years, but did not reach a conclusion on sheep products due to lack of data.

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