Prime Minister Wrong On Imported Meat

Prime Minister Wrong On Imported Meat

Published July 15, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson made claims about meat from the US that were not actually true, an official from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) told reporters.

Addressing attendees of a Progressive Party leadership meeting last Friday, the Prime Minister said he welcomed the prospect of Costco in Iceland, but warned against what he called “steroid meat”.

“The actual [European Economic Area (EEA)] agreement does not permit the importing of American meat,” he said, adding, “99% of the meat which is produced in these factory farms is steroid meat, injected with various kinds of hormones.”

Members of his own party have already voiced similar concerns, but the facts of the matter are different from the Prime Minister’s claims.

The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) does indeed allow the use of hormones, both naturally occurring and synthetic, in the raising of livestock. However, the “FDA approves these drugs only after extensive studies have shown that the food from the treated animals is safe for people to eat, and that the drugs do not harm the treated animal or the environment”, adding that the hormones are no longer present in the animal’s body at slaughter.

While no corroborating evidence could be found for the Prime Minister’s 99% claim, Vísir reports that Charlotta Oddsdóttir, an import-export supervisory official for MAST, says the Prime Minister is incorrect that US meat is banned from the EEA. Imported US meat is allowed within the European Union; it just follows strict regulations.

The EU did ban the import of hormone-treated beef in 1985, but those restrictions have since relaxed. In fact, beef from the EU was only recently allowed for export to the US.

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