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No proof found for British clone claim: CFIA

A claim that embryos from a cow bred from a British clone were sold to breeders in Canada has no evidence to back it up, according to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) investigation of the anonymous claim in a U.S. newspaper has found “no evidence to support the allegation,” the CCA said in a newsletter Monday.

U.K. government officials have confirmed that, according to their records, no embryos from the cow had been certified for export to Canada, contrary to a claim made in a July article on cloned livestock in the International Herald Tribune, the international edition of the New York Times.

Herald Tribune writer James Kanter on July 29 quoted an unnamed British dairy farmer as saying he not only sold milk from a cow bred from a clone, but sold the cow’s embryos to unnamed “breeders in Canada.”

U.K. animal health officials contacted by the CFIA were able to confirm the identity of the herd and cow anonymously cited in the news story, the CCA said Monday.

The cow’s herd of origin has been dispersed and no evidence was found of any embryos from the cow being exported to Canada, CFIA was quoted as saying.

Food products derived from genetically modified (GM) animals, clones included, are not approved for sale in Canada, including cloned animals.

Products from animal clones and their progeny are considered by Health Canada to be “new/novel” and would be subject to review by Environment Canada, Health Canada and CFIA before they would get any approval for use in food or feed or for release into the environment.

CFIA’s job is to ensure regulations are followed, while Environment Canada would be responsible for any cloned animals or animal products that may have entered Canada. Health Canada would authorize the sale of products in this country.

According to the CCA in a related statement in August, animal clones can be produced in Canada, but must be kept under “appropriate quarantine conditions” and would have to be incinerated upon their deaths.

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