EU talks on food from cloned animals collapse

Written by Reuters | Brussels | Updated: Mar 30 2011, 06:01am hrs
Talks within the European Union broke down on Tuesday over how to deal with food from cloned animals, sending EU proposals on the sale of new types of foods back to the drawing board after three years of debate.

Following all-night negotiations in Brussels, EU lawmakers were ready to drop their demand for a ban on the sale of food from the conventionally bred offspring of cloned animals, in return for mandatory labelling for all such products.

But EU governments rejected the compromise and said it risked dragging the 27-nation bloc into a full blown trade war with countries that already export food products derived from the young of cloned animals, such as the US.

The European Parliament ... tried to push the (European) Council to accept a misleading, unfeasible solution that in practice would have required drawing a family tree for each slice of cheese or salami, said Hungarys farm minister Sandor Fazakas.

Hungary, which chaired the showdown talks as holder of the EUs rotating presidency, said it had been ready to accept a ban on the use of cloning for food production in Europe and the gradual introduction of labelling for products from the offspring of clones.

But failure to reach an agreement means the proposals on regulating so-called novel foods, which are defined as foodstuffs not consumed significantly in the EU before 1997, must be redrafted, and could take several more years to finalise, Hungary said.