The proposal does not affect the recently confirmed ban on marketing BST in the EU, which was imposed to protect animal health. In addition, it does comply with the EU Court of First Instance's ruling that, irrespective of this marketing ban, a decision on the MRL status of BST must be taken in accordance with Regulation 2377/90.
BST is a substance with hormonal effect which is used to increase lactation in cows. In the EU, the placing on the market and administration of BST is banned for animal health and welfare reasons. The current ban is set to expire at the end of 1999, but the Commission decided on 26 October 1999 to propose that it be made permanent.
Despite the marketing ban, companies have applied to obtain a decision on the MRL status of BST in accordance with Regulation 2377/90. The Court of First Instance has ruled in this context that the existence of a marketing ban does not justify automatically refusing to decide on the MRL status of BST: if there are no risks to human health, then a decision on the MRL status, including BST in Annex II of that Regulation must be taken in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Regulation. Whereas the Regulation's primary aim is to protect public health, the marketing ban was decided on animal welfare grounds. Moreover, an MRL classification of a substance is useful, even if it is not marketed in the EU, in order to monitor and check foodstuff imports from countries where this substance is commonly used.