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A Livestock Drug Banned in 160 Nations Yet Considered Safe?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's CAFO's vs. Free Range page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

A livestock drug banned in 160 nations and responsible for hyperactivity, muscle breakdown and 10 percent mortality in pigs has been approved by the FDA.

The beta agonist ractopamine, a repartitioning agent that increases protein synthesis, was recruited for livestock use when researchers found the drug, used in asthma, made mice more muscular.

Ractopamine is started as the animal nears slaughter.

How does a drug marked, "Not for use in humans. Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure. Use protective clothing, impervious gloves, protective eye wear, and a NIOSH-approved dust mask" become "safe" in human food? With no washout period?

The drug is banned in Europe, Taiwan and China, and more than 1,700 people have been "poisoned" from eating pigs fed the drug since 1998, but ractopamine is used in 45 percent of U.S. pigs and 30 percent of ration-fed cattle.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

 Ractopamine, aka Paylean and Optaflexx, is banned in 160 countries, including Europe, Taiwan and China. If imported meat is found to contain traces of the drug, it is turned away, while fines and imprisonment result for its use in banned countries.

 Yet, in the United States 45 percent of pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter.

 Why?

 This drug, manufactured by Elanco Animal Health, increases protein synthesis. In other words, it makes animals more muscular   and this increases food growers' bottom line.

 Adding insult to injury, up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, according to veterinarian Michael W. Fox. Yet this drug is marked "Not for use in humans," and is known to increase death and disability in livestock.


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