EU Ends Hormone Beef Dispute With US, Canada

March 14, 2012 Updated: March 15, 2012

The European Parliament on Wednesday came to an agreement to end a decades-old ban on importing beef from the United States and Canada.

The European Union in 1988 banned imports of beef from cattle treated with growth hormones. The United States and Canada then placed over $128 million in sanctions on several types of EU food products, including Roquefort cheese, chocolate, juices, jams and fresh truffles, but later rescinded those duties. 

The retaliatory duties imposed on the EU by the United States and Canada “hampered EU exports and led to a loss of market share for EU producers,” according to a statement from the 27-nation bloc.

Under the new agreement, the EU will keep its ban on hormone-treated beef products but will get high-quality untreated beef from Canada and the United States instead, the statement said.

“This is a win-win resolution for the EU. Parliament has taken a step that will enable the EU agricultural industry to plan ahead again and that will strengthen transatlantic trade links,” rapporteur Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl said in a statement.

The EU ban was based on concerns over six hormones that were added to the vast majority of North American beef.