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press release on hormones

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Coordination Paysanne Européenne
European Farmers Coordination
Coordinadora Campesina Europea
Rue Stévin 115 - 1000 Bruxelles - B 
tel: (32) 2 230 07 76     fax: (32) 2 230 03 48  

PRESS RELEASE					Brussels, 18 February 1999

                        Hormones: No imports of meat with hormones
		                   Change the WTO health rules

The European Commission has just put forward three alternatives for solving
the conflict with the USA on the subject of the use of hormones in beef

The CPE categorically refuses the third alternative, which is to import meat
with hormones and label it. We recall that European farmers do not want to
produce meat with hormones, and that European consumers do not want to eat
it. This refusal also applies to milk produced by cows receiving hormones
(the ban on the rBST hormone in the EU will expire next year). The EU must
learn from the BSE scandal.

The US position, dictated by the beef export lobby that drove US family
farms into the ground, must be rejected out of hand.

Saying no to the "import and label" solution is all the more important
because imported meat would be used in the processing industry (ready meals,
school dinners, hospitals etc.) without consumers having direct access to
information about its nature. After all, who would buy meat labelled, "with
hormones" ?!

The CPE asks the EU to question the existing WTO rules on the setting of
food standards. The US are constantly invoking "strictly scientific
criteria," while in fact the Codex Alimentarius recommendations on which
trade negotiations are now to be based are not at all scientific - they are
adopted by governmental delegations rather than scientific committees.
Furthermore, these delegations are largely composed of representatives of
the large chemicals companies manufacturing the products in question. 

The EU must stand up firmly for the right of each land to establish its own
food policy, taking account of public health and food quality criteria and
applying the principle of precaution where desired.
This is going to be a test of the EU's will to put the interests of its
citizens before those of a small number of trade lobbies.


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