USDA's Glickman meets with EU Ag Chief Fischler
Special WTO panel to review EU hormone ban on US beef
EU bans imports of US beef because of recombinant bovine growth hormone
Europe won't accept hormone-treated beef
Germany's pure food law reason for banning hormone-treated US beef
Ranchers, USDA, see opportunity to sell hormone-tainted beef to UK
Irish beef farmer: Greens responsible for ban on US beef
Farmer in Iowa City writes: not hormones but growth promotants
Canadian beef banned too -- hormones used
Fussy customers in Ireland and UK
US milk and milk products not banned
Six growth hormones allowed in US
but forbidden in EU
Implantations in earAdded to cattle feedAdded as Doping Mask
estradiol 17 beta melengestrol (MGA) procaine
testosterone dexamethasone
progesterone triamcinolone-acetonide
zeranol (mycoestrogen) clenbuterol*: angel dust
trenbolone (Revalor)
[used illegally]

Clenbuterol = 4-amino-a-[t-butylaminomethyl]-3,5-dichlorobenzylalcohol
Related beta agonists: clenproparol, broombuterol, mabuterol, salbutamol, mapenterol, cimaterol
prednisolone, triamcinolone acetonide, methylprednisolone
Other synthetic hormones: methylboldenone, estradiolbenzonate, ethinyl-estradiol, methyl-testosterone, medroxyprogestrone, diaethylstilboestrole, delmadinonacetate, chloormadinone, DES

USDA wants EU Ag Commissioner to Lift ban on US beef

FDA: Jim Petterson (202) 720-4623

May 10, 1996 "My meetings here in Austria with European agriculture officials, agribusiness representatives and farmers have been extremely productive.... "With respect to the EU's hormone ban, I made it clear that unless the EU could offer the prospect of progress toward re-opening the market to U.S. beef, we would make our second and final request for a WTO dispute settlement panel. Commissioner Fischler was unable to offer any hope that the ban could be lifted, so this matter will be placed on the agenda of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body's next meeting.

"We agreed that a greater effort needed to be made to avoid potential problems in agricultural biotechnology. Therefore, we decided to expand bilateral technical discussions on facilitating the review, approval, and commercialization of products from agricultural biotechnology. This initiative will supplement the existing United States-European Union HighTech Working Group on Biotechnology. "


USDA Release No. 0265.96 ... Laura Trivers (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, May 20, 1996--Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Acting USTR Charlene Barshefsky announced today that the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has established a panel to examine the European Union's ban on imports of beef from animals raised with benefit of growth hormones.

In commenting on today's action, Ambassador Barshefsky said, "We are very pleased that the Dispute Settlement Body has established a panel to hear our long-standing complaint. The EU Hormone Directive has no legitimate basis and we believe the panel will find the Directive violates the EU's obligations under the WTO agreements. Our pursuit of this dispute underscores the Administration's firm commitment to eliminate unfair trade practices that restrict U.S. exports."

The EU directive has severely restricted exports of U. S. beef to the continent. When the EU imposed the ban in 1989, the United States attempted to challenge it under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, but the EU blocked the establishment of an experts group to examine the Directive. Under new WTO rules, the EU can no longer block the establishment of a panel.

USDA Secretary Dan Glickman also commended the WTO for establishing a panel today, stating, "The evidence is overwhelming that proper use of these hormones poses no danger to human or animal health. Even scientific groups composed by the EU have found that these hormones are safe when used properly. We hope that the panel process will lead to a re-opening of the EU market to U.S. beef -- which would benefit consumers and producers on both sides of the Atlantic."

The U.S. requested consultations on this matter with the EU -- the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process -- on January 26, 1996. Consultations were held in Geneva on March 27, 1996, with Australia, Canada and New Zealand joining the United States. Because these consultations failed to produce a resolution, the United States decided to request a dispute settlement panel. The panel will hear the arguments of both sides and report its findings around the end of this year.

NOTE: USDA news release and media advisories are available on the Internet.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone: EU bans imports of US beef

A EU scientific committee recently concluded that there is no scientific evidence that beef from rBGH treated cattle pose any health risks. The ban is still upheld -- 'waiting for further scientific evaluation'. With the present turmoil of the European beef market, a total collapse could be predicted if it was lifted now or in the close future. Many European consumers would not touch anything treated with growth hormones, like it or not.

It is a present WTO issue, because EU according to the agreement can only base a ban on scientifically proved health hazards, not on fear of consumer reactions. Don't even mention politico-economical reasons, although obvious they are taboo.

Official EU document links
rBGH (rBST) resources compiled by US anti-rBGH group, NERA

Hormones in US Beef: Europe not likely to lift ban

Copyright 1996 by Jan Braakman

The Europeans are not impressed by the decision of the US secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to make a complaint against the European Union at the World Trade Organization. Glickman says that the European Union violates international trade-agreements by the boycott of US beef that is produced with the use of certain natural hormones that are implanted or injected. The only valid reason to ban the US meat could be a risk for the public health, Glickman says. "US meat producers an exporters should be assured that our government will not allow bad science to be used as a non-tariff barrier. We will use every tool available to us to ensure that our exports are treated fairly in foreign markets."

The conflict between the US and Europe could escalate into a trade-war. But Glickman doesn't want that. The minister's personal advisor Paul Drazek has said that his department continues to lodge a complaint at the World Trade Organization. But there's no reason yet to take countermeasures, Drazek told European reporters in january. In an official statement Glickman stated that the complaint "underscores the US government's determination to end this long-standing unfair trade practice and restore access for US meat exporters to this important market."

Allthough Argentina, Canada, New Zealand and other beef producing countries protested against the European ban, that also hurts them, only the US lodged a complaint at the WTO.

Although even European scientists claim that - when used properly - natural hormones are no threat to the public health, European Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler still opposes the use of natural hormones in beef. And he refuses to allow US meat on the European market.

The most important reason to confront the US is that consumers and farmers in Europe don't want steak with hormones. There is no scientific proof that the so-called natural hormones - that are synthetically produced - could damage the public health. But the public opinion in Europe - especially in the northern European countries - is firmly against any use of artificial growth stimulators, although they might not harm the human health at all.

Organizations for the protection of animals claim that hormones do harm the animals. At a special conference in Brussels last year they reported that some of the hormones could cause cancer in the animals. That argument is taken seriously by the European ministers of agriculture who are working on different laws for what is named 'animal's well-being'. The well-being of animals is a political issue in Europe that has to be taken seriously. Especially in the United Kingdom the public seem to be opposed to any form of industrialized stock-raising.

Since the early seventies the European Union has officially banned the use of synthetic growth stimulators. Despite of the ban, the use of those illegal products have been very popular especially for the production of veal and beef. The use of for instance clenbuterol seemed to be very profitable. Government-studies in the Netherlands claimed that the income for a farmer could rise about $ 100 to $ 200 per animal. The profits of the trade in the illegal growth-stimulator clenbuterol are higher than the profits in trading heroin or cocaine - and the risks for the trader are a lot less, a Dutch prosecutor stated at court, where traders and users of clenbuterol were convicted to fines and imprisonment.

Due to the high profits the trade in illegal hormones and other growth stimulators is in hands of criminal organizations. Inspectors of the national criminal investigations departments confront sometimes violent members. The Belgian inspector Karel van Noppen was killed early 1995. There seems to be no doubt that the so-called hormone-mob has to do with the killing. Last weekend (May 26) the French police arrested a suspect: a Belgian illegal arms trader, who might have delivered the weapon that killed Van Noppen. The arms trader is together with an conspirator the main suspect in the killing of Van Noppen. Acoording to sources in the Belgian justice, both suspects accuse each other of having pulled the trigger. Both arms traders have connections in the drugs scene as well as in the beef maffia, Belgian newspaper say.

Statistics hardly mention the illegal use of natural hormones in Europe. Although farmers and government inspectors are certain they are used. The problem is that it is very hard to proof for a criminal court the natural hormones are used. No scientist is able to certify that the amount of natural hormones found in an animal are certainly and without any doubt the effect of injections or implantations. Only when implantations or injection-spots are found on the meat, the proof is given.

It might be even more difficult to keep American beef out of the European Union. In February 1996 customs officers detecten a large amount of American beef at the harbour in Antwerp, that was illegally imported. Customs confiscate tons of beef. Six people were arrested. Officially the destination of the beef was outside the European Union, but most of it came on the European market. The importers not only violated the European regulations on hormone free beef, they also evaded import levys and value added tax for at least 60 million dollars.

Legalizing hormones wouldn't make an end to the malpractices. The fifteen ministers of agriculture in the European Union gathered in January 1996. They are convinced that legalizing hormones is the wrong way. "Even an American procedure at the panel of the World Trade Organization wouldn't change our minds", the Austrian commissioner Franz Fischler said. The European Parliament in Strasbourg is outspoken against legalization.

USDA: American burgers still safe

(CNN) March 22, 1996 From Correspondent Eugenia Halsey

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- If you are in the United States and in the mood for a big fat juicy burger, go ahead, indulge. That's the word from the Department of Agriculture a day after news about infected British beef triggered off an international scare. Many U.S. ranchers see an opportunity in this rejection of British beef. "We would love to send 'em (Europeans) some wholesome, clean, American beef ... to help 'em with their current problems," said Colorado rancher Scott Johnson.

But that is not expected to happen anytime soon. The European Union has banned U.S. beef because it often contains hormones.

Glickman said he doesn't believe the "mad cow disease" issue is necessarily going to affect American beef sales abroad. But that doesn't mean the United States isn't going to try. It will seek to persuade Europe to lift the ban. Now, says Glickman, they even have a good argument: American beef is safe.

Copyright 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.

Beef farmer in Ireland-EU writes:

"The EU ban on hormones is not scientifically based. It is a political decision taken to keep 'The Greens' in Europe happy. For years we have been forced to produce meat at without the aid of 'meat quality enhancers' (a more consumer friendly term).This has increased the cost of producing beef.

As far as I am aware there was never a residues found in any meat - imported or EU produced that would cause a threat to the consumer - of any of the legal hormones. There have been incidences of illegal growth promoters abused ansd some high residues found. >Appreciate either answer or pointer to online links with answer.

We here in Ireland produce"wholesome, clean, Irish beef" which we are trying to sell to the UK and others. The problem is that beef consumption across Europe has fallen between 10% and 40%. Each country is promoting it's own beef as clean and healthy and the reduction in consumption means that each country in now self sufficient in beef. There is no roon for imports within the EU and probably no room for imports from outside.

I have no problem with Americian beef. From visits to the states I can say that the best steaks I have eaten were in Colorado. The consumer here in the EU has a thing about healthy food. The consumer pays dearly for that food directly and indirectly. To the consumer the word 'hormone' sets off alarm bells. We all have a job on our hands to reassure the consumer that the food we produce is safe.

"This has been an interesting irony to me for some time. There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the US-used growth promotants (please note they are not hormones) cause any problems in beef. It's a commonly held view in the US that the UK was just using this trumped up issue to protect their own beef market from US imports. The irony is that others in the EU now used the same approach, but with bSE as the purported human health risk, against the UK to protect the domestic markets in Germany and France. The phrase "hoisted on their own petard" comes to mind.

Mark Varner ...

Listserve item of 28 May 1996

Germany and Reinheitsgebot

"Germany was a leader in this. Germany has quite a history of "pure food" philosophy, going back to the Reinheitsgebot (pure beer law) going back to 1515 or something like that. As I recall (I was living in Germany from 88-93), there was also a major scandal because of illegal hormone feeding of veal calves by a major meat packer.

Germans insist this is based on health and personal preference reasons, Americans insist it is a pseudo trade barrier, and each seems to be firmly convinced the other has the illogical position.

The Germans lost in the EU on the pure beer law, for the reason that other countries were able to persuade the regulating agency that the purity law was being used as a trade barrier. However, it sounds like the EU as a whole is embracing the same rationale they rejected in another case."

Canadian Beef Banned Too

In Canada bovine somatotropin (BST) is not permitted. Also Clenbuterol is banned, though there have been a few cases where it has been detected after illegal use.

The hormonal preparations permitted are used as growth promotants - anabolic agents which increase feed efficiency and accelerate attainment of market weight - being in large part endogenous hormones such as estradiol and progesterone or testosterone. These are implanted subcutaneously in the ear.

Canadian beef is also banned by the EU because of the use of hormones and this is currently under appeal.

UK Consumer does not want hormones in their beef

As a UK beef farmer (Northern Ireland) I would be in my own mind happy that there are hormones that would not affect the safety of beef. Its not really the safety issue that is at stake here althought the EU may well use it as a front.

The fact is that the consumer here does not want hormones in their beef. In the UK we have a particulary fussy customer who insists on the very highest standards of animal welfare, enviromental awareness and most of all NOTHING added to the "natural" diet of a beef animal. Most farmers in Northern Ireland operate under a "Farm Qulaity Assurance Scheme" which insists that the animals diet must be grass based.

Insprectors make unannounced checks to make sure you are not feeding animals any supplements that they might consider inappropriate. They also check on the welfare if the animals and the enviornemntal friendlyness of the farm. Because we have this system in Northern Ireland our beef is very popular all over Europe (particularly in Holland) were it is marketed under the "Greenfields label".

We export 80% of our beef so naturally our beef industry is in deep crisis. It is the view of most farmers here that since the market is already saturated there would be little advantage in increasing supply with hormones when consumers do not want it. The people who run the quality scheme have said that even if the EU allow hormones to be used any one doing so will be removed from the scheme. Obviously hormone beef can be produced cheaper and therefore could be seen as representing unfair competition.

Jason Rankin
Home Page

US Milk and milk products not banned

The ban on US beef is because of the use of growth hormones such as clembuterol [an anabolic steroid]. The EU Commission takes the view that there is scientific evidence of a hazard to health, justifying a ban even under GATT, but this is disputed by the US Government. There was speculation that the case would be taken to the World Trade Commission.

The EU ban on US beef is not because of bovine somatotropin(BST) or consequent IGF-1, and there is no ban on US milk or milk products, despite the moratorium until December 1999 on the use of BST in the EU countries. This is because of GATT implications.

In view of the favourable Scientific Report delivered by the European Committee on Veterinary Medicinal Products (CVMP), and the European Commission themselves accepting that the use of BST does not create a human health hazard, there is no scientific basis on which imports of milk or milk products from BST treated cows could be banned. The EU Commission have indicated that the long-term moratorium does not include a ban on such milk or milk products imports from USA or other countries where BST is in use.

Listserve item, 29 May 96:

About the EU beef ban: The European Union doesn't want to import beef that is produced in a way that is considered unsafe by the public nor in an illegal way according to European law. As a politician said: it is not because the meat is unsafe to eat, but it is because my voters don't want it.

Milk production stimulating BST (bovine somatotropin) [also known as recombinant bovine growth hormone] is not allowed in Europe. Reasons are partly economical (we don't need to produce more milk in Europe), partly because of uncertainties about health problems for the animal.