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A drug used to keep pigs lean and boost their growth is jeopardizing the nation’s exports of what once was known as “the other white meat.”
The drug, ractopamine hydrochloride, is fed to pigs and other animals right up until slaughter and minute traces have been found in meat. The European Union, China, Taiwan and many others have banned its use, citing concerns about its effect on human health, limiting U.S. meat exports to key markets.
Although few Americans outside of the livestock industry have ever heard of ractopamine, the feed additive is controversial. Fed to an estimated 60 to 80 percent of pigs in the United States, it has sickened or killed more of them than any other livestock drug on the market, an investigation of Food and Drug Administration records shows. Cattle and turkeys have also suffered high numbers of illnesses from the drug.
Growing concern over sick animals in the nation's food supply sparked a California law banning the sale and slaughter of livestock unable to walk, but that law was struck down by the Supreme Court Monday. Meat producers had sued to overturn California’s ban, arguing that the state could not supercede federal rules on meat production. The court agreed.
US$50 Million - US$100 Million
According to Elanco’s news letter related to the Paylean® approval in Canada, it improves average daily gain and feed efficiency by 10-15%, and shows no adverse effects on meat quality.
Paylean is approved in Canada for use in meal or pellet feed for finishing barrows and gilts only. It is not approved to use it for breeding swine and pigs intended to be retained for breeding. It is advised not to feed rations containing Paylean for more than six weeks.
Although Paylean is not approved for breeding swine, swine improvement programs may still need to be reviewed once Paylean is widely used for pork production. For example, it needs to be checked whether economic weight for carcass leanness needs to be downwards adjusted. If an adverse effect on meat quality is found, there could be additional emphasis on genetic selection for meat quality.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission has reaffirmed the human safety for Elanco’s feed ingredient compound ractopamine during its 33rd session in Geneva, Switzerland, by holding the maximum residue levels at Step 8 with a work plan. .
Ractopamine is considered not to be a direct carcinogen. It is not listed by IARC, NTP, ACGIH, or OSHA. The induction of benign leiomyomas (tumors of smooth muscle) in mice and rats can possibly be due to a general feature of beta-adrenergic activity of ractopamine.
Dose-dependent changes of heart rate and cardiac output are observed within the first hour after administration of ractopamine and gradually return to baseline values. The systolic blood pressure will also increase in a dose-dependent manner, while the diastolic pressure remains unchanged.
Skeletal muscle tremor is the most common adverse effect of beta-agonists, and is more likely to be seen after oral administration than after inhalation. Tremor results from an imbalance between fast- and low-twitch muscle groups of the extremities, and its severity varies greatly between individuals. No such effects were recorded at the NOEL determined in the toxicological studies conducted in laboratory animals given ractopamine or in the study in humans on cardiovascular effects of ractopamine.
Feelings of restlessness, apprehension, and anxiety were reported side-effects after the use of various beta-agonists, particularly after oral or parenteral treatment. In pilot clinical trials with ractopamine, four patients showed little evidence for central nervous system stimulation. It is unclear whether long-term treatment with these drugs results in the development of tolerance to these adverse effects.
In July 2007 Chinese officials seized U.S.-produced pork for containing ractopamine residues. Further shipments of ractopamine fed pork were seized in September, though this time they were Canadian in origin.
Ractopamine is currently allowed to be used as growth promoters to increase lean muscle mass in pigs and cattle in around 25 countries worldwide, including USA, Canada, Korea, Mexico and Indonesia.
People have actually taken this stuff and haven't suffered bad side effects.
Originally posted by Corruption Exposed
This is horrible news for the bacon lovers of America
I have never heard of this chemical so I'm going to look it up in more detail to see if it's used in Canada, thanks for sharing
I freaking hope they don't use this in Canadian pigs, because I love bacon.