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European Commission

Tonio BORG

Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy

Press Statement on Cloning and Novel Food

Press Room of Berlaymont, Brussels

18 December 2013

Ladies and gentleman,

The college of Commissioners has today adopted an important package of measures on animal cloning and novel food which aim to provide, amongst other things, legal certainty on these emotive issues.

Novel Food

On Novel Food, today's proposal revises the current Regulation with a view to improving access of new and innovative food to the EU market, while still maintaining a high level of consumer protection.

We propose to create a centralised authorisation system, which will allow greater certainty for applicants seeking an authorisation for a novel food and will simplify and speed up the process to enable safe and innovative food to reach the EU market faster. These authorisations will be generic, therefore, giving access to sell and use new food to all food business operators, including SMEs.

Supporting innovation by giving an incentive for businesses to innovate is also a key feature of the new system. In duly justified cases and for highly innovative products, the company submitting the application containing new data will be given data protection on that novel food for 5 years. However, another food business operator may make a new request on the same food based on their own application.

Cloning

Let me now turn to the cloning issue

This is a sensitive issue on which the College held a debate some weeks ago. As a result of this debate I have today proposed two draft Directives addressing animal welfare and ethical concerns related to the use of the cloning technique.

One of the Directives will ban the use of the cloning technique in the EU for farmed animals and also proposes a ban on imports into the EU of these clone animal.

The second Directive bans the marketing of food, such as meat or milk from cloned animals from being placed on the EU market.

Today's policy proposals seek to ensure that no cloning for farming purposes will be carried out in the EU and no such clone will be imported as long as animal welfare concerns persist. This also implies a suspension of the food from the clone.

To sum up, the changes on novel food will create a more efficient and cost effective authorisation system which will offer European consumers the benefit of a broad choice of foodstuffs and provides a favourable environment for Europe's food industry to be innovative and competitive in this fast evolving and dynamic sector.

The measures on animal cloning provide a clear EU policy that respond to animal welfare concerns as well as consumer perceptions on food from animal clones in a realistic and workable way.

Now it is for the co-legislators, the European Parliament and the Council, to start their considerations as soon as possible to get the legislations adopted in due course.


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