Great progress has been made in reducing human starvation. This has been achieved through increased use of arable land and adoption of new technologies. Future increases in food production will depend on adoption of new technologies and must be more rapidly achieved to meet the increased demand for food. Technologies that are safe for people, reduce environmental impacts of production, increase profits, and improve animal well-being will be needed. The EU precedent in banning hormonal growth promotants (HGP) was a response to the illegal abuse of diethyl stilboestrol in the EU and provides a non-tariff trade barrier. The banning of some antibiotics in the EU reflects the unwise application of a ‘precautionary principle’ through which risks were not soundly assessed. However, the unilateral ban established by Coles on HGPs in Australia represented a more dangerous development in which marketing ploys were accorded a higher value than the care of animals, the environment or the profit made by producers. Decisions such as these have reduced the viability of animal production in the UK and pose a threat to sustainable agricultural production in Australia.