Codex Alimentarius Commission sets new maximum residue limit on ractopamine

A veterinary drug used to increase growth in cattle, swine and turkeys while keeping them lean is subject to a new standard, following a narrow vote by a United Nations regulatory group.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, which creates international food standards and guidelines, voted 69-67 to set a maximum residue limit (MRL) for the beta agonist ractopamine.

The new limit is set at 10 parts per billion (ppb) for beef and pork, lower than the U.S. FDA’s limit of 30 ppb for beef and 50 ppb for pork.

Several countries, including the U.S., Canada and Brazil have been pushing for global standards for some time, as it makes it easier to challenge countries that have a zero tolerance policy for ractopamine, according to Food Safety News.

Officials from Taiwan, one of the countries with a zero tolerance for ractopamine residues in beef, have said the commission’s ruling will not affect Taiwan’s decision on whether or not to lift a ban on U.S. beef containing ractopamine drug residues, according to

The Taiwanese legislature is slated to vote on whether to lift the ban at the end of July.

Read the full story from Food Safety News here.

Check out Neogen’s ractopamine testing offerings here.

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