Parliament backs hormones ban proposal

European Parliament supports Commission’s proposal to maintain ban on six hormones used as growth promoters in cattle

The European Parliament on Thursday 1 February supported the Commission's proposal to maintain a ban on six hormones used as growth promoters in cattle. Voting in first reading on the report by Swedish liberal MEP Karl Erik Olsson, MEPs expressed their backing for amending Council Directive 96/22/EC to outlaw the carcinogenic oestradiol 17 beta hormone and to retain a provisional prohibition on 5 other substances (testosterone, progesterone, trenbolone acetate, zeranol and melengestrol acetate).

The six so-called "Beta-agonists" are still used in the US and Canada as growth promoters for the artificial fattening of animals and may pose risks to human health, such as increase in heart rate, severe headaches and a reduction in blood pressure. The use of these 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.

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