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Merck Continues Promoting Zilmax despite Its Dangers

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



While the beta-agonist drug Zilmax (Zilpaterol) has been used to promote muscle growth in American-grown cattle since 2007, news of the dramatic adverse effects of this drug didn't hit mainstream news-and hence public consciousness-until late last year.

In early August, 2013, Tyson Food Inc issued a statement saying it would no longer purchase Zilmax-fed cattle for slaughter due to animal welfare concerns. The company had noticed that many of the cows that had been fed the drug had trouble walking. The cattle also displayed other behavioral issues.

Since then, Cargill Inc. has also decided to reject Zilmax-fed cattle until it is confident that any animal welfare issues associated with the drug have been resolved.

Merck, the maker of the drug, initially said it would halt US and Canadian sales of Zilmax, pending company research and review. It wasn't long however before Merck announced it had no plans to discontinue the product, saying the company stands behind the safety of the drug.

At present, Merck does not need approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to return Zilmax to market, as the FDA has not taken any action against the drug.

Agricultural drug use has become a major health concern for animals and humans alike, and in my view, organic, grass-fed meat that is humanely raised and butchered is really the only type of meat worth eating, if you want to maintain good health.      


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