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North America must tighten controls on cattle growth hormones, says Europe

Administering certain hormones to cattle to boost their growth poses potential risks to human health, according to a report from the Scientific Committee for Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health which advises the European Commission. This is also supported by a draft ...
Administering certain hormones to cattle to boost their growth poses potential risks to human health, according to a report from the Scientific Committee for Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health which advises the European Commission. This is also supported by a draft report on the assessment of risks resulting from the abuse of these hormones and the difficulties of control. Both opinions were made public on Monday 3 May 1999, and are now being circulated in the United States and Canada in a bid by European scientists to encourage North America to impose tighter controls on the sale and use of the hormones.

The scientists on the Committee agreed unanimously that (with varying degrees of conclusive evidence for each) the use of six hormones - 17 beta-oestradiol, progesterone, testosterone, zeranol, trenbolone and melengestrol acetate (MGA) - puts consumers at risk.

The adverse effects that consumers might experience after eating meat containing either residues of these chemicals or the chemicals they are broken down into (their metabolites) include neurobiological, genotoxic and carcinogenic reactions.

The Scientific Committee for Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health has unanimously adopted an opinion on this subject. In addition to lobbying the USA and Canada, it is appealing for widespread, adequate, residue control programmes to be set up for the six hormones, in order to monitor both their legal and illegal use.

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