10 February 2000
No ban on US meat before March

THE EU has postponed a decision until March on whether to ban imports of US meat.

It has delayed the decision to give Washington additional time to put in place better monitoring procedures.

There are fears if a ban were imposed it would provoke a serious trade war with the USA.

The EU has banned US hormone-treated beef on safety grounds for more than a decade, but a new ban could extend to cover all meat products.

EU vets asked for monitoring procedures to be improved following a recent visit to the USA.

They were concerned that hormone-free and hormone-treated products could be mixed in processing.