Ractopamine – also known as Paylean and Optaflexx is a drug which is banned in 160 countries but is used in 45% of pigs, 30% of beef and also in turkeys when animals are “finished.” (fattened) for slaughter. It causes unnatural weight gain.
It is used just before slaughter to promote protein formulation in animals. Reports from farmers to the manufacturer, Elanco, say it causes animals to become very sick; vomiting, ‘downer’ syndrome and animals experience tremors or hyperactivity.
This drug is also marked by the FDA: “Not for use in humans.” Warnings on the product include:
No withdrawal period is required in swine or turkeys when treated according to the label.
When mixing and handling Paylean® 20, use protective clothing, impervious gloves, and a dust mask. Operators should wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. If accidental eye contact occurs, immediately rinse thoroughly with water.
The active ingredient in Paylean® 20 is ractopamine hydrochloride. Ractopamine hydrochloride is a beta-adrenergic agonist. Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure.
Keep out of reach of children.
How, then, can this be considered safe to include in feed for animals destined for the tables across this country?
The manufacturer has stated that it is a ‘green’ drug, capable of allowing the pork producing industry to be able to maintain animal levels at the same rate while increasing weight of these animals, thus reducing cropland needed to produce as many pigs.
The FDA approved this drug, saying no testing for residues was necessary nor was a ‘withdrawal time’ (non-feeding to allow it to pass from the animal’s system) was not needed. It was also said to be safe in all indicated uses and there are ‘safe’ levels in edible animal tissues.
If you buy meat in the grocery store – you are eating traces of this drug. Think about that store-bought Thanksgiving turkey. Everything an animal eats before slaughter, you will eat, too!
This is just another reason why I don’t buy meat from the grocery store but instead, from local farmers who pasture their animals, using no chemicals or hormones of any kind!
Editor’s note: This is an reprint of an article from my old blog, Good Food 4 All.