23 March 1999
Brown backs hormone beef

By FWi staff

THE European Union (EU) should lift its ban on imports of beef injected with bovine growth hormone, Agriculture Minister Nick Brown claimed last night.

Mr Browns comments came in reaction to the publication by the USA of a list of European products it wants to ban in retaliation for an EU ban on the beef.

Mr Brown urged the EU and the USA to resolve their war of words over beef which, he said, threatened to “damage businesses that have nothing to do with the dispute”.

Mr Brown said: “The UK voted against the EU ban on the grounds that it is not justified by the science.”

Mr Brown said consumer protection remained the governments top priority and there was no reason for imports of beef injected with growth hormones to be banned.

He added: “If new scientific evidence emerges, we will clearly need to look again at the case for a ban but there is no basis at present on which to change our view.”

If the EU it wants to avoid US tariffs totalling $900 million (£550m) on a range of farm products, it must produce fresh scientific querying the safety of hormone-treated beef.

The only other option is for the EU to comply with a World Trade Organisation ruling and lift its 10-year-old ban on hormone-treated beef by May 13.