Meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring is no different to conventional produce and is safe to consume, government advisers have said.
The conclusion could bring food safety authorities a step closer to giving the green light for shops to sell foodstuffs from cloned animals.
The controversial practice of using the embryos of cloned animals to breed livestock came under the spotlight in August when it emerged milk and meat from the offspring of cloned cows had reached shops in the UK.
But the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) said there was no evidence of any differences between produce from cloned animals and that from conventionally-bred cattle.
Responding to the findings, Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the Food Standards Agency, said: “In considering this hypothetical application, the ACNFP has confirmed that meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring shows no substantial difference to conventionally produced meat and milk and therefore is unlikely to present a food safety risk.”
The committee also noted more evidence was needed to show how rearing animals in different environments may affect the meat and milk.
Members concluded any potential differences between cloned animals and conventional animals was unlikely to exist beyond the second generation.
Under European law, foodstuffs – including milk – produced from cloned animals must pass a safety evaluation and get approval before they are marketed.
The FSA Board will discuss the issue at its December meeting.
It said the board will consider the opinion of the ACNFP, the recent European Commission proposal to ban meat and milk from clones and their offspring, and any other developments, before giving advice to ministers.