The Japanese farm ministry is considering lifting the ban on the sale of beef and milk from cows that have been cloned.

A recent study has shown them to be safe for human consumption, and nearly identical to the meat, milk and blood of naturally conceived cows. Kyodo News also reported that the study found that rats fed products from cloned cows developed no irregularities.

The cloned cows were produced by scientists transferring the nuclei of cells from adult cows into cow eggs from which the nuclei were removed. This is the technique by which Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996.