EU to ease tests on American “guaranteed hormone-free” beef

The Standing Veterinary Committee has given a favourable opinion to a European Commission proposal to ease tests on imports of US hormone-free beef, as tests found no suspect products since 1999.

The EU refuses to import beef treated with growth-promoting xenobiotic hormones, arguing that scientific studies have demonstrated that health risks are involved. The USA, however, brought the case before the WTO, which allowed Washington to impose sanctions of up to 137 million euro a year against the EU.

In 1999, testing on american beef imports was increased as hormones had been found in "guaranteed hormone-free" beef. In September 2000, the obligatory frequency of checks was reduced from 100% to 20%. From now on the usual random residue tests, performed on all beef imports from third countries, should suffice, say EU food experts, as it seems that the US authorities are taking enough measures to prevent beef treated with hormones to be exported to the EU.


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