A British veterinary report on the use of growth hormones in cattle found there's no scientific justification for a generic ban, meatnews.com reports. However, the report by Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) report also shows there are gaps in evidence, which the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) says merits a precautionary approach, despite the agency's broad agreement with the report.

The compounds, which make livestock gain weight more quickly on less feed, are commonly used in the U.S., and have been banned from use in the EU for 20 years, though internationally their use is scientifically regarded as safe.

The VPC, which advises the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Health Ministers, and the FSA, was asked in 2002 to re-examine this issue and to advise the European Commission on whether the science justifies the ban. FSA says there's no indication the generic EU ban will be lifted, but should there be any prospect of lifting it, the agency would call for a case-by-case risk assessment of each hormone before it could be granted authorization.