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No cloned steaks on EU plates

by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Oct 19, 2010
The European Union on Tuesday announced plans for a five-year ban on animal cloning for food production as well as a traceability system for imports of semen and embryos of clones.

"Cloning for food is not required" across the EU, European health commissioner John Dalli told a news conference. "There's no need for it."

The plan is to be published as legislative proposals next year but will need to be approved by EU governments and lawmakers.

It would enable cloning for uses other than food, such as reseach, conservation of endangered species or use of animals for the production of pharmaceuticals.

Food derived from the offspring of clones presents no risks and banning its import would be impossible because of traceability problems, the commissioner said.

The temporary suspension follows concerns that emerged in Britain last August when meat from the offspring of a cloned cow was put on the market by a Scottish dairy farm.

It also addresses concerns from animal welfare groups but may not go far enough for the European Parliament, which had called for a total ban on food derived from cloned animals.

earlier related report
UN-backed scientists push for ban on pesticide endosulfan
Geneva (AFP) Oct 19, 2010 - A UN-backed committee of scientists said Monday it wants a ban on endosulfan, a highly toxic pesticide still used on crops including cotton, rice and tea in some countries including India.

A committee of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants said that it "recommended listing endosulfan in Annex A of the Convention, with specific exemptions, a move that would lead to its elimination from the global market."

Member states of the convention are due to meet in April 2011 to decide whether they will end the use of the highly toxic chemical, which is already banned in 60 countries due to its damaging impact on the nervous system.

The 2001 Stockholm treaty, which counts 172 signatories, originally covered 12 chemicals known as Persistent Organic Pollutants because they do not break down over time in the environment and accumulate in soil, water, the food chain and in human tissue or organs such as the liver.

It now covers a total of 21 chemicals, including the insecticide Lindane and pesticide DDT.

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UN expert calls for farming changes
Geneva (AFP) Oct 16, 2010
The United Nations top official on the right to food called for wholesale changes in farming methods to safeguard the environment and ensure everyone has enough to eat. Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a statement to mark World Food Day that there is currently "little to rejoice about," and "worse may still be ahead." "Current agricultural deve ... read more

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