Share your thoughts: Foods derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer clones and their offspring policy update

Current status: Open

Opened on March 26, 2024 and will close to comments on May 25, 2024.

Health Canada's Food Directorate is proposing to publish a revised policy regarding the regulation of foods derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) cloned cattle and swine, and their offspring as novel foods in Canada.

The revised policy proposes these foods to no longer be:

Join in: How to participate

If you would like to comment, please review the proposed revised policy statement and provide your feedback by email at The directorate will consider all science-based comments concerning food safety before making a final decision.

Who is the focus of this consultation

Health Canada wants to hear from:

Related information

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)

Animal cloning is the process of creating an animal that's a twin of the original animal. SCNT is a reproductive animal cloning technique and doesn't change the animal's genetic make up. The process involves taking the nucleus of an unfertilised egg cell from a female animal (egg donor) and replacing it with the nucleus of a somatic (any cell except sperm and egg) cell from another animal (genetic donor) to form an embryo. The embryo is then transferred to a surrogate to continue to develop until birth. Livestock breeders use cloning to create copies of animals with desirable traits, such as disease resistance, or meat or milk quality.

Currently under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), SCNT animal clones and their offspring are considered as "new" living organisms. Therefore, they're subject to pre-manufacture and import assessment requirements under the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms) [NSNR(O)]. However, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada's Healthy Environment and Consumer Safety Branch are reviewing the NSNR(O) to propose amendments. These amendments may include the possibility of exempting SCNT cattle and swine clones. They're doing this review at the same time as Health Canada's policy update, but it's a separate process.

Final report

We will publish a report outlining what we heard from the consultation once the consultation is complete. The directorate aims to implement its updated policy by Fall of 2024 if no new scientific evidence that would warrant a review of its proposed policy approach is submitted during the public consultation.

Contact us

Bureau of Microbial Hazards
Food Directorate
Health Canada
251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9

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