LONDON – News and rumors circulating that products from the offspring of cloned animals have entered the United Kingdom (U.K.) food chain are being investigated by the Food Standards Agency (F.S.A.). Despite the fact there is no evidence that eating products from healthy clones, or their offspring, poses a food-safety risk, meat and products from clones and their offspring are considered novel foods and must be authorized before entering the market.

F.S.A.’s investigation has been extensive and has involved, among others, farming organizations, the dairy industry, local authorities and breed associations.

As a result of the investigation, the agency has traced two bulls born in the U.K. from embryos harvested from a cloned cow in the U.S. Both bulls have been slaughtered. The first, Dundee Paratrooper, was born in December 2006 and was slaughtered in July 2009. Meat from this animal entered the food chain and has likely been eaten. The second, Dundee Perfect, was born in March 2007 and was slaughtered July 27. Meat from this animal, however, has been prevented from entering the food chain.

F.S.A. said in order to produce food products from clones or their offspring, a novel food application must be submitted and authorization granted at a European level before any such food is placed on the market. The F.S.A. is the U.K. authority responsible for accepting novel food applications.