Thursday, March 31, 2011

Supermarkets: no clone meat

We won’t sell clone meat say supermarkets after minister sabotages ‘Frankenfoods’ label plans
By Sean Poulter
Daily Mail
March 31, 2011

Supermarkets have pledged to keep meat and milk from clone farm animals and their offspring off their shelves.

The move came after it emerged that the British Government and the European Commission have sabotaged efforts to regulate and label the controversial ‘Frankenfoods’.

The Daily Mail revealed yesterday how EU negotiations designed to draw up a policing regime for clone farming and food had collapsed.

The result is that meat and milk from the offspring of clones could go on to the shelves without any labels in a matter of months.

The Government, led by Caroline Spelman – the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – was in the vanguard of efforts to kill off any attempts at regulation.

Ministers claim that food from clones and their offspring is the same as that from other farm animals and therefore requires no special regulation or labelling.

However, this is completely at odds with public opinion in Britain and Europe, where consumers want to decide for themselves whether to eat this food.

Many also object on ethical and animal welfare grounds.

Yesterday the UK’s major supermarkets said that – regardless of the view of Mrs Spelman and the Government – they will not stock food from clones or their offspring.

Andrew Opie, of the British Retail Consortium which speaks for all the major stores, said while there is ‘no evidence’ the food is not safe, ‘public opinion is very much against it’.

He said: ‘Retailers have no interest in selling goods they know customers don’t want to buy. Retailers work very closely with producers and manufacturers and will be making every effort to prevent food from the offspring of clones entering the supply chain.’

The Co-op said the Government needs to put in place a system to allow stores and others to identify clone animals and their offspring.

A spokesman said: ‘The Co-operative does not source any own-brand meat or dairy products from cloned animals or their offspring.

‘As there are no analytical methods to detect clones and following recent incidences where cloned animals have inadvertently entered the market we are reliant on our suppliers to enable us to maintain this position.

‘We feel there is an urgent need to review the legislation and controls covering the movement and identification of cloned animals, their breeding stock and progeny throughout the supply chain.’

Tesco joined the opposition, saying: ‘We have made it clear to our suppliers that we do not accept meat or dairy products from cloned animals or their offspring.’

Marks & Spencer issued a firm rejection, saying: ‘M&S codes of practice actually prohibit the procurement of cloned meat (including offspring) and dairy now and in the future.’

Sainsbury’s said: ‘We don’t permit meat or dairy products from cloned animals or their offspring in Sainsbury’s products, a position that is clearly understood by all our suppliers. We have no plans to change this policy.’

Morrisons also ruled out clone farm food, saying: ‘We have a policy not to accept milk or meat from cloned animals or their offspring.’

Waitrose said: ‘Our position on this issue is simple. Waitrose does not sell milk or meat from cloned animals.’

Asda aligned itself with the statement from the British Retail Consortium.

The position of the stores leaves the Government and Mrs Spelman out on a limb, championing a policy that has been rejected by both consumers and retailers.

A spokesman for Mrs Spelman said: ‘We remain of the view that there is no scientific justification for controls on the descendants of clones.’

Read Testbiotech’s ‘Agro-Biotechnology: Cloning farm animals – a ‘killer application’?

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