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Health and Consumer Protection

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Hormones first Commission debate

The European Commission discussed the results of the risk assessment of hormones performed by the Scientific Committee on veterinary measures related to public health.

The Commission agreed that there can no longer be any question of lifting the ban on hormone treated beef since the risk assessment has identified risks to health caused by hormones. Next week the Commission will address the issue of how to discharge its WTO obligations in the light of these new scientific findings. The Commission was deeply concerned about the United States (US) attempt to belittle the risk which the scientists have identified. The Commission cannot understand that the US has not reacted in a more responsible way to the conclusive findings of the scientific committee : "17 beta oestradiol exerts both tumor initiating and tumor promoting effects". This is all the more incomprehensible as prepubertal children are the population group most at risk.

Consumer Policy Commissioner, Emma Bonino, stated : "The scientific evidence is of enormous importance to European consumers as it demonstrates that the Commission was right to strenuously defend the ban on hormones. We now have a scientific basis to defend our position."

Released on 17/05/99

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