No call for a revision of the ban on growth hormones

by Editor
Thursday, July 26, 2007

New scientific studies do not provide enough evidence for the EU to amend its ban on the use of growth promoting hormones in cattle.

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) issued a report by one of its scientific panels, which concluded that there are no grounds to call for revision of previous risk assessments advising a ban on growth promoting hormones.

Growth promoting hormones are used to increase the weight gain of cattle. However, such drugs are not permitted in Europe because of concerns about possible health risks from residues in the meat and other edible parts.

EFSA was asked by the European Commission to assess any new scientific evidence that emerged since the EU risk assessment in 2002 on natural and synthetic growth promoting hormones (GPH) in cattle.

The Panel noted that the understanding of the complex mechanisms of action of steroid hormones is still a matter of scientific research and new insights into the complex genomic and non-genomic regulatory mechanisms controlling hormonal homeostasis in different phases of life are still emerging.

An EFSA panel concluded that whilst more sensitive analytical techniques have been developed to identify and quantify the presence of GPH, these techniques have not been widely used.

The EU ban has led to a trade battle with the US, which permits the use of growth hormones. The ban has meant EU processors have had to carefully chose the source of their meat supplies.