Codex Review Harmful Feed Additive

US - The latest session of the U.N. Codex Alimentarius ended without final adoption of a maximum residue level for ractopamine, a feed additive widely used in pork and beef production.
calendar icon 4 August 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The commission agreed to review additional information on the drug to be submitted by China, a country that has outlawed its use, writes Barbara Minton, Natural Health Editor, Natural News. Although this is very good news for meat eaters, says the news report, the U.S. delegation to Codex expressed disappointment in the commission's decision to delay adoption of a minimum residue level for ractopamine, and urged that the review of information from China be completed by the Codex meeting in July, 2010.

According to Natural News, the National Pork Producers Council has been pushing the commission to adopt a minimum residue level for ractopamine, even though no evidence has surfaced to suggest its use is safe for animals or for the humans that consume products from animals bulked up with this drug.

Ractopamine was approved in 1999 for use on finishing swine, pigs that are being fed and readied for market. The drug directs nutrients away from the production of fat deposition and promotes an increase of lean meat, resulting in more weight gain, increased carcass leanness, and fatter bottom lines for pork producers.

In early 2003, the FDA approved ractopamine for use as a growth promoter in cattle during the last 28 to 42 days of the finishing period for feedlot steers and heifers. No long term studies documented the safety of ractopamine prior to its approval for hogs or cattle.

Ractopamine is a product of Elanco technology, a company owned by Eli Lilly. It trades under the name Paylean for use with hogs, and Optaflexx for use with cattle. Producers of hogs love Paylean because it improves feed efficiency by 13 per cent, and average daily weight gain by 10 per cent. Average daily feed intake is reduced by 6 per cent, and total lean meat production is boosted by 25 to 37 per cent. Paylean use can net a pork producer an extra $5 to 10 per hog, and can increase profits by more $320,000 a year in a fairly good sized operation.

Only 24 counties support the use of ractopamine. It is banned in 160 countries including the EU, China and Tiawan, where punishment for its use includes fines and imprisonment. Imported meat is tested and turned away if traces of ractopamine are discovered.

Further Reading

- You can view the Codex report by clicking here.

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