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.