According to an article written by Martha Rosenberg and published on October 30, 2013, 80% of the US’ beef and pork production is using ractopamine hydrochloride in their animal feed. Ractopamine is also being used in turkey production.
If things keep going as they are, there will be no safe food grains due to genetic modification’s adverse effects, and no safe animals to eat. We have had swine flu, mad cow disease, avian flu and rBST cow’s milk, which the USDA insists is not harmful. Add to these concerns the fact that the USDA is allowing unsafe chemicals to be used in animal feeds.
One of the drug additives to animal feeds for cattle, pigs and turkeys is a compound called ractopamine hydrochloride. It reduces the fat in these animals. There was a time when animals had lower fat because they were feeding on grass and they had to walk around the pasture to eat it. With today’s commercial feed lots, animals are tightly bunched in pens with no opportunity to exercise while getting food.
The use of this animal food additive is banned in many other countries. Ractopamine has many of the properties of drugs used in treating asthma. Because of its proven adverse effects on cardiac functions, and birth abnormalities in rat studies, meats containing ractopamine has been banned from Russia, and is under consideration for banning in Japan, China and the European Union.
"The use of highly active beta-agonists as growth promoters is not appropriate because of the potential hazard for human and animal health," wrote the journal Talanta and republished by the National Institute of Health (NIH)."
A study of the effects of ractopamine hydrochloride on swine was released on April 25, 2006. The title of the study was PAYLEAN 9 and PAYLEAN 45 (Ractopamine Hydrochloride) Type A Medicated Article for Finishing Swine. The supplier of the ractopamine study was Elanco Animal Health, a division of the pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly.
This is a major study published by the FDA under the freedom of information (FOI) act. There are several different conclusions. A few selected quotes from the study follow, with comments on their conclusions.
“Feeding of ractopamine hydrochloride was associated with increased blood creatinine, decreased blood glucose, and decreased absolute and relative (i.e., as a percent of body weight) weights of the kidneys, heart, and liver after successful completion of the simulated marketing process (P < 0.10; Table 3.2). However, none of these findings manifested themselves into clinical observations that could be attributed to ractopamine hydrochloride treatment.”
This conclusion contradicts itself. The results of feeding ractopamine was an increase in blood creatinine, decreases in the weight of kidneys, heart and liver of the hogs, but this could not be attributed to ractopamine treatment?
Increased blood creatinine in human beings is an indication of kidney failure. Can a substance that leads to increased blood creatinine in hogs be safe to feed to human beings? The study documented the reduction in kidney function in hogs fed 10 parts per million of ractopamine for up to 35 days. This is a powerful drug.
An additional conclusion was that feeding ractopamine caused an increase in injury to hogs during the finishing process. There was no explanation as to the cause of these injuries, but the conclusion is clear.
“Based on the results of this study, ractopamine hydrochloride is safe for finishing pigs heavier than 240 pounds when administered in the diet at concentrations up to 10 ppm and fed for up to 35 days. However, users should be cautioned that ractopamine hydrochloride has been associated with an increased number of injured and lame pigs during marketing.”
The marketing time was established as the number of days from when the hogs completed the finishing process on ractopamine until they were killed. What caused the pigs to be unable to walk? Was their failure to be able to walk a neurological effect of the ractopamine?
This study was used to permit an increased amount of ractopamine hydrochloride to be used in feed for “finishing” hogs before slaughter. No additional safety studies were done, with reliance on an older study at lower amounts of ractopamine being used to establish safe levels for human consumption.
“No new human food safety data are required for the approval of this supplement. The product’s human food safety in finishing swine has been established in the Freedom of Information (FOI) Summary for the new animal drug application for PAYLEAN (NADA 140-863) in finishing swine dated December 22, 1999.”
More animals were shown to become lame or dying when the dosage was increased from 5 to 10 parts per million of ractopamine per ton of feed. How can the prior safety studies be adequate for determining safety for humans if there was an adverse effect on hog health?
A Chinese research team reached an entirely different conclusion with regard to ractopamine and other drugs in the same family of beta-adrenergic agonists. This abstract was published by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in a release entitled “Determination of beta-adrenergic agonists by hapten microarray.” This is their opening statement of the abstract.
“The use of highly active beta-agonists as growth promoters is not appropriate because of the potential hazard for human and animal health.”
The Farm Bill is being voted upon now in Congress. It is critical that you contact your Senators and Representatives to let them know your concern about the continued use of ractopamine hydrochloride in cattle, pork and turkey feed. This is a critical health issue given the findings of independent laboratories in other countries, and it needs to be reviewed again by the USDA.
Contact Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Pat Tiberi and Congressman Steve Stivers and let them know that you want them to support the banning of ractopamine hydrochloride in animal feed.
The attached video shows how Elanco promotes its products to have farmers using their products to recruit other farmers. Like doctors that prescribe Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals, farmers get incentives for helping get more business for Elanco. Elanco is a major supplier of ractopamine hydrochloride additives for animal feeds.