Europe plans to ban all US beef

22 April 1999

Europe plans to ban all US beef

THE European Union (EU) is planning to ban all imported US beef from mid-June after scientific tests showed supposedly hormone-free beef contained traces of hormones.

The 20-member European Commission has endorsed a total ban, although formal approval is needed from the EU Standing Veterinary Committee before it can be implemented.

The commission said it had delayed implementation of the ban until 15 June to give the EU and the USA a chance to find a solution.

Europe and the USA have been embroiled in argument over the EUs existing 10-year ban on hormone-treated beef.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) says this ban violates world trade rules because it is not supported by scientific evidence that the beef could damage health.

The EU has until 13 May to comply with the WTO ruling.

It has ordered 17 studies to try and support its contention that a ban on hormone-treated beef is needed because the hormones pose a risk to human health.

Dan Glickman, US agriculture secretary, said research showed there was no risk from consuming meat from cattle treated with hormones at the levels detected by the EU samples.

The EU imports about 7000 tonnes of hormone-free US beef a year, worth £13 million.

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