Why The Beef over Hormones?

Europe says its meat ban is based on real medical concerns, but U.S. cattlemen call it groundless and protectionist

Is eating U.S. beef hazardous to one's health because of the hormones that most American ranchers give their cattle? The case for fear is flimsy, yet it has set off a rancorous and potentially costly trade battle between the U.S. and the European Community.

The fray officially began Jan. 1, when the E.C. banned imports of meat from animals treated with growth-inducing hormones. Since more than half the 35 million U.S. cattle sent to market each year receive at least a small amount of hormones, the ruling blocked European imports of $140 million worth of American beef. The Reagan Administration immediately...

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