’Dolly the Sheep’ chops are off the menu thanks to an EU ban on imported meat from cloned animals, Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson has said.
Members of the European Parliament (EP) have voted to outlaw imports of meat from outside the EU which could be from cloned animals unless they meet stringent Euro rules.
Currently, EU rules state that only third generation or later offspring from cloned animals can be sold for food. But with cloning widespread and virtually unregulated in major meat exporting nations like the US, Canada, Argentina and Brazil, there are currently few safeguards to stop cloned meat entering the EU food chain from outside.
As a result, EU consumers could unwittingly be eating meat from cloned animals which may have genetic problems.
The EP has asked the European Commission to prepare an urgent regulation covering such imported products.
Mr Stevenson said:
"This is an outrageous situation where we have imposed strict controls on our own industry but have no way of ensuring imports meet the same rigorous standards.
"We currently import billions of pounds worth of meat every year from the US, Brazil, Argentina and elsewhere, where cloning is widespread with few regulatory controls.
"Some of this meat could be from first generation cloned animals. We simply have no way of knowing.
"Similarly, we import around £30 million of bull semen from the US every year and use it to inseminate beef and dairy cows in the EU. Again some of this semen could be coming directly from cloned livestock.
"I am therefore delighted that a big majority of MEPs supported a call for the Commission to produce an urgent resolution on cloned imports while in the meantime banning all meat imports from outside the EU unless they can be accompanied by a certificate.
"We have no desire to trigger a trade war with countries outside the EU, but they have to realise that their exports must comply with the same standards we apply to our own home-grown products. There must be a level playing field.
"In the absence of a reliable scientific test, all imports should be clearly labelled: ’This meat may have come from a cloned animal’. This would enable EU consumers to make their own choice on what to buy."