The Italian Almanac

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Dolly

No Clones on my Table

A majority of Italians think food products from cloned animals are dangerous and should be banned, according to a study by farmers' association Coldiretti. The poll found that 55% of respondents think Italy and the European Union should outlaw all meat and milk from cloned livestock and poultry. Just over a third said they would not mind the sale of such products, provided they were clearly labelled, so that consumers were able to make an informed choice.

Coldiretti, which published the results of the poll as the United Nations considers a worldwide ban on human cloning, pointed to the situation in the US, which it views as cause for concern. The Food and Drug Administration, in charge of food safety in the US, has already given the green light for meat and milk from cloned animals to be sold without special labelling. Coldiretti expressed alarm that the European Union might be considering the possibility of following track.

The first sheep, Dolly, was successfully cloned ten years ago in Scotland but a number of other livestock animals have been cloned since. A Japanese geneticist at Meiki University in Tokyo recently announced the creation of the world's first fourth-generation cloned pig, while an Italian team produced the first cloned horse, Prometea, in 2003, followed by a cloned bull.