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NEWS: Will cloned meat become a CETA issue?

The Edmonton Journal reported in August 2009 that, “Federal food officials expect cloned farm animals to reach US markets in just two to four years, making some Canadians – and possibly foreign countries – question the safety of our own meat. Canadian law doesn’t allow sales of cloned products unless they pass a safety test. But the US Food and Drug Administration has accepted the safety of meat and milk from cloned animals, with no special safety tests or labeling required. And those cloned animals could enter Canada, either as breeding stock or as meat.”

That article from a year ago added, “The big problem, the federal documents (obtained through the Access to Information Act) warn, is that food and breeding stock are widely bought and sold across the Canada-US border. If the Americans start selling unlabeled meat or milk from cloned animals, these are expected to get into Canada. And this could cause European countries to ban American meat – and ours along with it, to be on the safe side.”

Now, Postmedia is reporting that, “The US Secretary of Agriculture on Tuesday said he doesn’t know whether cloned cows or their offspring have made it into the North American food supply. …(Secretary Tom) Vilsack’s comments come a week after the UK Food Standards Agency told consumers in that country that descendants of a clone made their way into the local food supply. The cattle were the offspring of a cloned cow in the U.S. and were shipped to the U.K. as embryos. Meanwhile, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating a claim that embryos from a cow bred from a cloned parent animal in Britain have been sold to breeders in Canada.”

“Two years ago, the U.S. FDA concluded that cloned pigs, goats and cattle were safe to eat, as were their progeny. …In Canada, the departments of agriculture, health and environment, along with CFIA, produced a draft assessment of the safety of cloned animals in August 2008, but it is still in the review stage. …However, the European Parliament (in May) moved to ban the sale of meat or dairy from cloned animals and their offspring.”

The federal documents reported on a year ago acknowledge that as different countries adopt different rules “market and trade challenges are thus a possibility in the near to long term.”

And as noted in the ‘Report of the United States-Canada Consultative Committee on Agriculture’ dated May 27, 2009, “Canada provided an update on the status of cloning in Canada. The Health Canada opinion on cloning, which will be the underpinning of Canada’s future cloning regulatory and policy framework, has completed the peer review process, but the results are not likely to be released until the fall. The United States and Canada agreed on the importance of avoiding potential trade disruption, as a result of the introduction of these new technologies in agriculture, and committed to continue cooperating in this regard.”

Yesterday’s news report is at http://www.vancouversun.com/health/unsure+cloned+meat+been+sold+Canada/3382406/story.html. The Edmonton Journal article is at http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_18859.cfm. More on the EU vote at http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/478435/eu_votes_for_labels_on_nano_cloned_and_gm_food.html.