Press Coverage Story
Panel believes cloned cattle safe to eat
By , The Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan)
January 07, 2009
A Food Safety Commission working group likely will acknowledge the safety of meat from cloned cattle and swine in a report to the commission's higher panel, potentially paving the way for cloned meat to enter the market, government sources said Tuesday.
The decision was made after its subgroup of experts had concluded meat from cloned animals was as safe as that from ordinary livestock.
Once the commission acknowledges the safety of the meat, it is expected to open the door to the distribution of beef from cloned cows in the market, the sources said.
The commission is under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet Office.
Concerns have been expressed over the safety of cows and pigs cloned from somatic cells because of their higher rates of stillbirths and deaths soon after birth.
After examining reports and studies from around the world, however, the subgroup concluded cloned animals would grow healthy after they reached 6 months of age, according to the sources.
The experts could find no discernible difference between offspring from cloned pigs and cows and those bred conventionally.
The working group plans to notify the commission's Expert Committee of its conclusion by the end of this month. The Food Safety Commission is then expected to submit a report on the safety of cloned animals to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry by as early as the end of the year, according to the sources. The final decision will be made by the central government.
Several research institutes in the nation have cloned cattle from somatic cells. At the request of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, however, they have refrained from shipping such cows into the market to avoid public confusion.