A new EU directive concerning the prohibition on the use of hormones has entered into force and as a consequence the European Commission is now going to request the USA and Canada to lift their trade sanctions.

The Commission said the directive implements the recommendations of the World Trade Organisation’s ruling, which criticised the EU for banning the use of certain growth promoting hormones without a state of the art scientific assessment of the risk associated with meat consumption.

Following the WTO Appellate Body decision in 1998, the Commission said the EU carried out a thorough and careful appraisal of the scientific evidence available, on the basis of which the Council and the European Parliament have adopted the new directive.

“The EU has delivered a thorough risk assessment based on current scientific knowledge, fully respecting its international obligations. Public health and consumer protection are the core of our approach to food safety guided by independent scientific advice,” Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne said.

The new legislation confirms the prohibition of substances having a hormonal action for growth promotion in farm animals. Moreover, it drastically reduces the circumstances under which hormone oestradiol 17â, which is believed to be carcinogenic, may be administered to food producing animals for purposes other growth promotion.

As regards five other hormones, the Commission said the amended directive maintains the provisional prohibition, which will apply while the EU seeks more complete scientific information to clarify the present state of knowledge of these substances. The Commission said it will regularly review scientific information that may become available in the future.