Dirk Brinckman
Liedekerke Siméon Wessing Houthoff, Belgium

In December 1999, the Council of the European Union (EU) decided to definitively ban possible use of recombinant bovine somatotrophin (rBST) in the European Union. In support of its ban it invoked animal welfare reasons. Prior to that decision, the European legislator had invoked different reasons, going from impact on the European milk policy, alleged consumer fears to possible carcinogenicity, with varying success. The concerns were either cleared by the competent scientific committee, i.e., the Committee of Veterinary Medicinal Products (CVMP) or considered by the European Courts to be unfounded. Despite the scientific finding of safety to public health, which should lead to the establishment of a maximum residue limit (MRL) for rBST and eventually to marketing authorization, the EU decided to ban rBST.

Key words: Animal welfare; ban; bovine somatotrophin; European Union; maximum residue limit; moratorium; public health; safety.