14 October 1999
Government backs milk hormone ban

By Phillip Clarke, Europe Editor

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

The Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) advised ministers that human and animal health issues meant the ban should stay when it is reviewed later this year.

Junior farm minister Baroness Hayman said she accepted the advice and would support a continuation of the ban which has been in place since 1993.

While admitting that the risk to humans from drinking BST milk was 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.

Treatment with BST was associated with “severe” welfare problems such as mastitis in dairy cows and strong evidence of decreased body condition.