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Ractopamine War Is Heating Up

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

effects of ractopamine

Story at-a-glance -

  • The U.S. has asked China to lift a ban on U.S. pork fed the additive ractopamine, but so far China has rejected the request
  • Ractopamine, a beta agonist used to increase weight gain, feed efficiency and leanness in pigs, cattle and turkeys, is banned in most countries, including China, Russia, Taiwan and the European Union
  • Only 26 major meat-producing countries allow ractopamine use, while at least 160 have banned it
  • The growth drug, marketed as Paylean for pigs, Optaflexx for cattle and Topmax for turkeys, is controversial not only because it’s linked to adverse effects in animals but also because of human health concerns
  • The continued use of the drug in U.S. meat is causing tensions during talks aimed at ending the U.S.-China trade war

The U.S. has asked China to lift a ban on U.S. pork fed the additive ractopamine, but so far China has rejected the request. China has seen huge losses in the pork industry due to African swine fever, which may lead to the deaths of up to 200 million pigs.

Still, even while facing protein deficits as a result, the country has been resistant to importing ractopamine-treated meat. In fact, ractopamine, a beta agonist used to increase weight gain, feed efficiency and leanness in pigs, cattle and turkeys, is banned in most other countries, including China, Russia, Taiwan and the European Union.


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