Documents to download

Growth promoting hormones have been at the centre of a long running trade dispute between the EU and US. The problem arises because of an EU ban on imports of meat from cattle treated with such hormones. Beef producers in the US, Canada and elsewhere commonly treat their cattle with hormone growth promoters; EU policy thus prevents such beef being sold on the European market. While the EU maintains that the policy is based on scientific evidence regarding possible health concerns, the US complained to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that the EU ban was no more than a trade barrier disguised as health measures. In February 1998, a WTO Dispute Settlement Body ruled that the EU ban violated international trade rules. The EU now has until 13 May 1999 to comply with its WTO obligations. This POSTnote looks at the scientific basis of the EU policy and examines the options open to the EU in the light of the WTO ruling.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • A POSTnote on preventing zoonotic diseases will review the evidence on a One Health approach to zoonoses prevention. It will focus on the animal-environment-human interface in both wild and domestic animals, reviewing national and international policy approaches, and lessons learnt from previous epidemics. It will also summarise opportunities and challenges for the UK’s role in global health and biosecurity policy arenas post COVID-19. Provisional start date: January 2021.

  • A POSTnote on childhood obesity will summarise the latest trends in children’s diet, obesity and related health conditions and review the impacts of previous policy changes such as the tax on sugar sweetened drinks. It will also examine the factors underlying the growing gap in outcomes for children from the most and least deprived backgrounds. Provisional start date: January 2021.

  • Evolving life sciences and agricultural research approaches may have a decreasing need to access physical resources in future, such as plant seeds or viral material. Information and genetic data may be all that is required for commercial exploitation of biological resources. This POSTnote summarises the challenge this creates for international discussions on the governance of genetic resources and the possible options for addressing these.