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27 Nov 2015 00:00
According to the European Food Safety Authority, there was no evidence of differences between meat from clones and conventionally bred animals. (Paul Botes, M&G)
The scientist behind plans to build the world’s largest animal cloning
factory in China has hailed the
venture as an “extremely important”
contribution that could help save
critically endangered species from
Xu Xiaochun, the chief executive
of BoyaLife, the company behind the
R445‐million project, said it would
begin operations in the first half of
2016 in Tianjin, a city about 160km
“We are going [down] a path that
no one has ever travelled,” he told the
Guardian this week. “We are building something that has not existed in
The main focus of the 14 000m2
facility will be cloning cattle to feed
China’s rocketing demand for beef.
BoyaLife initially hopes to produce
100 000 “top‐quality” cow embryos a
year and eventually to be responsible
for five percent of the premium cattle slaughtered in China.
No difference between clones and the real thingThe intended size of the operation
dwarfs that of United States companies allowed by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) to sell meat and dairy from cloned livestock since
The FDA ruled that clones
were as safe to eat as any other cattle,
pigs or goats.
In the United Kingdom, meat and
milk from cloned cows are considered “novel foods” and suppliers
need special permission to sell them.
In 2010, beef from the offspring of
a cow cloned in the US entered the
food chain, leading to an investigation by the Food Standards Agency.
In a statement on cloned animals,
the European Food Safety Authority
said there was no evidence of differences between meat and dairy products from clones or their offspring
and healthy, conventionally bred animals. But it reiterated its concerns
that the cloning process can cause
animal health and welfare problems,
“mainly due the increased number of
deaths at all stages of development”.
Scientists at BoyaLife will also
focus on cloning champion racehorses and sniffer dogs capable of
locating victims of natural disasters or stashes of illegal drugs. – © Guardian News & Media 2015
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