UN sets limits on veterinary growth promoting drug

PigsCodex Alimentarius Commission has agreed on a set of residue limits for the veterinary drug ractopamine in animal tissues. (Image source: Amanda Slater/Flickr)The Codex Alimentarius Commission, the United Nations food standards body, has agreed on a set of residue limits for the veterinary drug ractopamine in animal tissues

Ractopamine is a growth promoter and also keeps pigs lean. 

Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted maximum residue limits for the amount of the drug allowed in the tissues of pigs and cattle. The decision was made after a rigorous process of scientific assessment to ascertain that the proposed levels of residues have no impact on human health.  This assessment was carried out by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, a group of independent experts convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) that provides scientific support to Codex.

The ractopamine limits set by the Commission are 10 micrograms per kilogram of pig or cattle muscle, 40 micrograms per kilogram in liver and 90 micrograms per kilogram of the animals' kidneys.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint programme of  FAO and WHO, sets international food safety and quality standards to promote safer and more nutritious food for consumers worldwide and ensure fair practices in food trade. Codex standards serve in many cases as a basis for national legislation, and provide the food safety benchmarks for international food trade. 

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