Food Law News - EU - 2001

EP Briefing, 31 January 2001

HORMONES - The precautionary principle - no to cattle growth promoters

Report on the proposal for a European Parliament and council directive amending Council Directive 96/22/EC concerning the prohibition on the use in stockfarming of certain substances having a hormonal or thyrostatic action and of beta-agonists. Procedure : Codecision procedure (1st reading). Debate : 01.02.01

Reporting for the Environment Committee, Karl Erik OLSSON (ELDR, S), will be supporting a Commission proposal to amend a 1996 directive with a view to outlawing six hormones primarily used as growth promoters in cattle i.e. oestradiol 17 beta,, testosterone, progesterone, trenbolone acetate, zeranol and melengestrol acetate on the grounds that the substances could have an adverse effect on human health. The intention is to impose a definitive ban on oestradiol and retain the provisional prohibition on the other substances pending further scientific findings, albeit on the understanding that they can be used for therapeutic purposes. The latest scientific evidence indicates that oestradiol 17 beta is carcinogenic and may contribute to breast cancer while other substances could also have carcinogenic effects. The use of hormones in beef forms part of the EU's ongoing trade dispute with the USA, with the WTO ruling in 1998 that an earlier EU ban was not justified. The new findings from the EU's scientific Committee on veterinary measures now provide the scientific basis for the legislation, which is also designed to ban imports from countries that allow oestradiol 17 beta.

Several amendments have been tabled, one of which is designed to strengthen the monitoring of imports from third countries.

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