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A victory for cheese eaters? US-EU trade spat defused.

Roquefort prices won't triple for Americans, and Europeans can block hormone-treated US beef.

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Penny-pinching foodies can relax a bit.

A trade war that pitted hormone-treated beef from the United States against gourmet food items from the European Union (EU) appears to have been averted.

In the US, this means wedges of Roquefort cheese won't be tripling in price. Proposed punitive duties against 34 other "luxury" food products from the EU – from Irish oatmeal to Italian mineral water – also will not take effect.

In Europe, the tentative trade dispute settlement means consumers won't have to worry about hormones lurking in the beefsteaks and burgers that come from the US.

The US dropped the tariff increases after the EU agreed to quadruple the allowed quotas of duty-free beef from the US. The beef, however, must be free from hormone treatments.

Hormone-treated beef was at the center of the dispute. The EU banned US beef in 1998 out of concerns that growth hormones widely used in US cattle posed health risks for humans.

Although the deal could boost exports of US beef, there was little celebration in cow country.

"It's disappointing that US beef from cattle treated with growth-promoting hormones remains locked out of the EU market," Sen. Charles Grassley (R) of Iowa said in a statement. "This beef is safe and consumed by millions of people in the United States and other countries every day. The European Union should reopen its market to all US beef, which is entirely safe."


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