The Wall Street Journal reports that the European Commission and the U.S. announced a provisional deal in a long-running dispute over the European Union’s ban on hormone-treated beef.

Under the deal, the commission, the EU’s executive arm, will give duty-free access to an additional 20,000 metric tons of hormone-free U.S. beef in each of the next three years, on top of the existing duty-free quota of 11,500 tons for U.S. beef. That additional amount will increase to 45,000 tons in the fourth year.  Beef,  It’s what’s for dinner.

In 1996 the U.S. challenged the EU ban at the World Trade Organization, saying science doesn’t support the EU’s claim that consuming these hormones in the quantity present in beef is dangerous. The WTO ruled in favor of the U.S. in 1998, allowing the U.S. to impose sanctions.

The new deal ends the possibility of sanctions for now.  You can’t really blame the Europeans though. The U.S. food supply is known for having more crises  than planning a bridezilla’s wedding.  Spinach, lettuce, and don’t forget those “downer cows” from last summer.  No wonder they chose to pay potential sanctions rather than play Russian roulette with their food supply like we do.

As for me, I’ll keep buying organic whenever possible.