Is Hormone Treated Beef Now Allowed?

Written by Gully Foyle. Like this article? You can get Gully a beer here.

One of the oft-repeated scare stories of leaving the EU, was that doing so would ultimately mean the UK reducing its perceived high food standards to secure trade deals with other nations.

In recent years, in a post-Biden world where a trade deal with the USA is off the table for a few years, this has been seen most in the stories about trade deals with the Indo-Pacific and a need to allow Hormone Treated Beef / HGP into the UK market.

But has this actually come to pass? As many appear to believe that it has.

Facts or Fiction

As a matter of UK law, the presence and so use of artificial growth hormones is banned in both the domestic production and importation of meat for human consumption. This fact has not changed on the UKs departure from the EU, and the UK government have consistently stated that this position will not change. 

The recently concluded deals with Australia, New Zealand and the soon to be signed CPTPP, all confirm within the text that UK food standards must be adhered to - and meat exporter lobby groups and unions within countries that use HGP have raised their unhappiness that this continues to be the case.

The UK government is also required by law to commission a report from the Trade and Agriculture Commission - an independent body formed at the request of the Department for International Trade (now Department for Business and Trade) - to analyse the outcome of a given trade negotiation and confirm its likely impact on UK agriculture.

So why do people believe otherwise?

Mistaken or Misleading?

The matter of UK food standards, and the protection of the UK farming sector, is a hot topic that is somewhat easily weaponised - and one which drives traffic and engagement when articles are published on the matter.

When commentators on Twitter are engaged with on the topic, the evidence often provided by those who believe HGP meat will be allowed, is links to older articles discussing the potential or assumption that the UK would concede during negotiations - not more recent articles that confirm the concession was not made.

There are also those who appear to intentionally mislead the public on this matter, through making statements on the topic that they know to not be true - these tend to be made by those who campaign to rejoin the EU, and so appear to use this topic to try to leverage it for their own purposes. 


Hormone Treated Beef is illegal in the UK. It was illegal whilst still a member of the EU, it remains illegal outside of the EU.

Those who state otherwise, do so from a position of ignorance or deceit. There is no position, no argument based in reality, where it can be said that Hormone Treated Beef is now able to be imported legally into the UK. 


1: Text of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement -

2: DIT Explainer, "Agri-food in the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement" -

3: UK Policy Paper from 31 March 2023, "Conclusion of Negotiations on the Accession of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership" -

4: Report from the Trade and Agriculture Commission from 13 April 2022, "Advice to the Secretary of State for International Trade on the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement" -

5: AGCanada 31 March 2023, "Beef sector rips 'unjust' result as talks wrap on UK entry to CPTPP" -