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Brussels, 16 December 2002

Commissioner David Byrne welcomes Council support for legislation banning hormones as growth promoters

Commissioner David Byrne welcomed the Council's political agreement reached today on the Commission proposal of May 2000 (see IP/00/519) to amend current legislation(1) prohibiting the use of all hormones as growth promoters. Scientific opinion has repeatedly confirmed that such use of hormones in cattle poses a health risk to consumers.

The measure is based on the repeatedly confirmed scientific opinion of the Scientific Committee on Veterinary measures relating to Public Health (SCVPH) and maintains the current prohibition of the use of all hormones for growth promotion. One of the hormones under the scrutiny of the Scientific Committee, oestradiol-17-ß, has been evaluated as a complete carcinogen with both tumour-initiating and tumour-promoting effects. The proposed measure therefore not only bans the use of oestradiol-17-ß as a growth promoter but also significantly reduces all other circumstances in which it can be administered to farm animals. Only three uses will remain on a transitional basis and under specified conditions. These uses will only be allowed under strict veterinary control.

The provisions of the Directive will be kept under regular review. They will apply to Member States and imports from third countries alike.

Welcoming the political agreement, David Byrne said: "I congratulate the tenacity of the Danish Presidency in brokering this agreement. This demonstrates the EU's firm political intention to maintain a high level of consumer protection based on the relevant scientific evidence."

Next steps

The revised proposal now goes back to the European Parliament for a second reading and will enter into force as soon as the co-decision procedure is completed. The Parliament gave its first opinion on the proposal in 2001.

More information

The scientific report and Questions and Answers on the issue are available on the Internet at the following address:

The updated legislative text will be available on the Internet at the following address:

The first opinion of the European Parliament is available on

as document n° A5-0002/2001

(1)Council Directive 96/22/EC

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