The current European Novel Foods Regulation is set to remain in force after conciliation talks to update the law broke down without agreement after the European Council refused a final compromise offer from the European Parliament.

The Parliament said today (29 March) that talks broke down on the back of the Council's refusal to agree to legislation that would mean all clone-derived products would be labelled.

Chair of the European Parliament delegation, Gianni Pittella and Parliament's Novel Foods rapporteur Kartika Liotard said: "Parliament had overwhelmingly called for a ban on food from cloned animals and their descendants. We made a huge effort to compromise but we were not willing to betray consumers on their right to know whether food comes from animals bred using clones. Since European public opinion is overwhelmingly against cloning for food, a commitment to label all food products from cloned offspring is a bare minimum. Council would only assure its support to label one type of product: fresh beef. "

They added that measures regarding clone offspring are "absolutely critical" because clones are commercially viable only for breeding, not for food production. "No farmer would spend EUR100,000 on a cloned bull, only to turn it into hamburgers".

"Council furthermore opposed Parliament's right to veto new additions to the novel foods list. Its failure to compromise means that other valuable improvements to the rules are now lost. There will continue to be no special measures regarding nanomaterials in food, for example," said Pitella and Liotard.