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Placing on the market and administration of bovine somatotrophin

The European Union regulates the marketing and use of growth hormones for cattle in order to protect their health.


Council Decision 1999/879/EC of 17 December 1999 concerning the placing on the market and administration of bovine somatotrophin (BST) and repealing Decision 90/218/EEC.


This Decision is intended to regulate the marketing and use of bovine somatotrophin, or bovine growth hormone, within the European Union (EU).

The Decision thus prohibits the placing on the market of bovine somatotrophin on EU territory for the purpose of its marketing and the administration thereof to dairy cows by any means whatsoever.

The production or importation of bovine somatotrophin in the Member States for the purposes of exporting it to third countries continues to be authorised.

In addition, undertakings which produce or are authorised to market somatotrophin are required to keep registers detailing, in chronological order, the quantities produced or acquired and the quantities sold or used for purposes other than placing on the market, as well as the names of the persons to whom such quantities were sold or from whom they were purchased.


In accordance with Directive 2001/82/EC, no substance, with the exception of those given for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes, is to be administered to an animal unless it has been demonstrated by scientific studies of animal welfare or established experience that the effect of that substance is not detrimental to the health or welfare of the animal.

Somatotrophin is produced only to enhance milk production, and the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (which has been replaced by the European Food Safety Authority) stated in March 1999 that somatotrophin increased the risk of infections in cattle and that it could adversely affect reproduction and induce severe reactions in cattle to which it was administered.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 1999/879/EC01.01.2000-OJ L 331 of 23.12.1999
Last updated: 12.05.2005
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