Ractopamine hydrochloride, a medicated feed ingredient to boost meat yield in hogs and cattle, has finally received approval by an international food-safety body.
Ractopamine is marketed in Canada by U.S. animal health giant Elanco, under the name Paylean 20 premix for hogs and heavy tom turkeys, and as Optaflexx 100 premix for finishing beef cattle.
Elanco said that the Codex Alimentarius Commission has decided to adopt an acceptable daily intake (ADI) and maximum residue levels (MRLs) for the product in pig and cattle muscle, fat, liver and kidney.
Codex standards are the commonly accepted international food safety reference points. Its standards are considered to be recommendations for voluntary application by member nations, but serve in many cases as a basis for national legislation.
In this case, ractopamine has been approved for use in Canada since 2006, and is approved in the U.S., Mexico and a handful of other countries, but hasn’t yet allowed for farmers’ use by many other nations, most notably China and the members of the European Union.
China has blocked imports of Canadian pork since 2007, citing potential residues of ractopamine.
A Codex reference point for ractopamine, however, “helps assure consumers that their food is safe,” Elanco president Jeff Simmons said in a statement.