News Releases

Date: 10/16/2008

Title: NCBA Statement on WTO Report on EU Ban of Hormone-Treated Beef

DENVER - “The members that comprise the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) welcome today’s report by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body regarding the European Union’s (EU) unwarranted ban on beef treated with growth hormones.

“This report validates the additional duties the United States (U.S.) imposes on certain EU products in order to balance the trade disparity caused by the EU ban on hormone-treated beef.  The ban, which has been in place for more than 20 years, is scientifically unjustified and fails to satisfy the requirements of the WTO agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.  The EU claims that amendments made to the ban in 2003 bring them into compliance with WTO trade requirements.  However, the ban continues to prohibit beef treated with hormones, pending the availability of further scientific evidence. 

“In fact, numerous U.S. and international scientific studies have shown that the U.S. cattle industry produces safe and wholesome beef. The growth promotants used in cattle production are vigorously tested by the Food and Drug Administration for safety – both for the animals’ well-being and for the trace amounts that may be in meat consumed by humans.  The hormones, many of which occur naturally in other foods, have all been proven safe.

“Growth-promoting hormones help stimulate growth by increasing the efficiency in which feed is converted to muscle. Certain products, when administered to animals in very small amounts, supplement cattle’s natural hormone production and improve growth rates by allowing the animal to produce more muscle and less fat. This helps the industry produce leaner beef for consumers.

“The EU is an important market for U.S. beef products, having rapidly emerged as one of the world's largest net beef importing countries in recent years after being a net exporter earlier this decade.  Despite this unscientific trade restriction, the EU will be a key market for in 2008 with U.S. beef exports projected to exceed $100 million.

“The cattle producers of NCBA are committed to producing high-quality, safe, and healthy beef.  Consumers the world over can be confident about purchasing and consuming American beef products. NCBA appreciates the WTO Appellate Body’s recognition that trade must be based on internationally accepted, science-based standards.” 

Andy Groseta is a rancher from Cottonwood, Arizona, and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

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