15 October 1999

EUBSThormone ban must stay

THE EUs ban on the use of the milk boosting hormone BST must stay in place, the government has concluded.

The Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) has advised the government that the moratorium should stay in place when it is reviewed later this year because of human and animal health issues.

Junior farm minister Baroness Hayman said that the government had accepted the advice and would support a continuation of the ban. The moratorium has been in place since 1993.

While admitting that the risk to humans from drinking BST milk was extremely small, the VPC concluded in its report that it could not completely dismiss it.

The possibility of an increased risk of colonic cancer could not be ruled out without further studies.

And treatment with BST was associated with "severe" welfare problems in dairy cows.

There was strong evidence of decreased body condition and an increased risk of mastitis. Also, there was an indication of increased lameness and injection site lesions in treated herds. &#42