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Was the EU’s Ban on US Genetically Modified Products Justified?

Updated on February 21, 2022
Nyamweya profile image

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics.

The principle aim of the World Trade Organization was to remove discrimination and allow free trade in the member countries. Like any other body the WTO had a number of weaknesses, which included:(a)When dealing with the ban dispute the WTO took a long time, this made the United States to suffer economically since it was not exporting her meat products,(b)The WTO did not provide any compensation or order the United States to continue exporting its cattle products even when careful studies revealed that the growth hormones had no effects on humans or animal health,(c)The WTO does not provide any protection to its members in terms of their economic and trade interests.

Despite US being banned from exporting beef treated with growth hormones it still maintained its stand that the product didn’t pose any danger to humans’ health; and so the US initiated actions on the ban. In his book, Johnson & Hanrahan’s (2010) assert that,” As you recommended, we have initiated action against the European Union (EU) ban under the dispute settlement procedures of the World Trade Organization.” They continued to state that US as a result could impose higher trade tariffs on the EU’s products. After the WTO released its final report it emerged that the EU could not impose any ban on US product unless it had assessed the risk and filed a report. This served as a victory for US and in partnership with Canada they wanted to end the dispute through the launch of dispute settlement panel cases against EU regime.

The WTO was not effective in handling the dispute in regard to the genetically modified foods. The production of the food was against the human knowledge that it was genetically modified. Even though research studies revealed that it had no harm on the human health the US would have had labels indicating that it was treated genetically. In addition the WTO was slow in handling the dispute; it took more than one year to release its final report on the matter and this affected the US economy since they were not exporting their products at the time.

The EU should lift the ban. Research has shown that the genetically modified foods do not affect human health. Thus there is no use for US to be banned on the export of the product that has no effect on humans.

For a long time now the US and the EU union have engaged in a dispute concerning the production of genetically modified beef products. The EU has always maintained its stand with regard to this matter; although a number of rulings by the WTO show that the ban is illegal, as careful research have revealed that the use of growth hormones do not affect the human health. The EU has however stated it clear that despite the evidence by scientific studies that the genetically modified products do not have adverse effects on human health and the animals; it has made it clear that while using the growth hormones we should be concerned of the environmental effects they have, their effect to the economy and to the consumer.

The EU’s stand on the matter I feel is unjustified. There are no conclusive reports on the matter that the growth hormones affect the human health and the health of animals. The EU could have gathered enough evidence to support the decision before imposing the ban. It’s true of WTO’s stand that the EU could have taken the risk assessment on the situation before imposing its ban.

The use of growth hormones is a practice brought about by advanced research that improves productivity and the stand by the EU should be opposed as it has no proof of its environmental effects, the consumer effects and to the economy.


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