The European Union filed a complaint with WTO against the United States and Canada over their refusal to lift sanctions against the EU imposed for its ban on imports of hormone-treated beef. The EU's executive commission said the sanctions were illegal since the bloc had already refined the ban to comply with a negative WTO ruling. The EU said that its ban on imports of beef from animals given growth promotants had been updated in a 2003 law following a full scientific assessment, which the EU claims " substantiated the case for the prohibition on the use of the hormones in question for growth.
The U.S. is rejecting this argument. “We still don't see how they're in compliance because the EU ban remains in place and is still unsupported by any scientific rationale," said Richard Mills, spokesman for the US Trade Representative's office. "The hormone levels they are concerned about are 50 times less than the acceptable daily intake and they represent a tiny fraction of what occurs naturally in an egg or one glass of milk.”
In a statement Chandler Keys, Vice President of Government Affairs, National Cattlemen's Beef Association said, “Repeated scientific studies, including those done by the EU, show that the banned growth promotants pose no threat to human or animal health when used according to approved veterinary procedures. The WTO Appellate Body reiterated this when they upheld sound science rather than using unscientific factors as the basis for international trade rules and ruled in favor of the United States, forcing the EU to drop the ban or prove it is scientifically valid. The EU has failed to look at the science in this matter and refused to implement the recommendations and rulings of the WTO.
“This latest news regarding this ban is just another attempt by the EU to stir up old, non-scientific claims which have no validity. U.S. cattlemen are proud of their outstanding product, raising and producing the safest beef in the world. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety Inspection Service have studied this issue at length, and have found that there are no risks to human or animal health from the use of these growth promotants. U.S. cattle producers have continually called on the EU to drop its illegal ban on U.S. beef or face retaliation."