Elanco expressed disappointment this week as the Codex Alimentarius Commission held at Step 8 of the global food safety standards for ractopamine hydrochloride. Ractopamine is a “beta agonist” feed additive marketed in the United States as Optaflexx, for improving carcass weights in cattle, and as Paylean for swine.  

Several countries ban use of the feed additive and in some cases, notably Taiwan, do not allow imports of U.S. beef from cattle fed ractopamine.

Elanco notes that the human safety of meat from food animals fed ractopamine has been confirmed three times by Codex’s own scientific advisory committee, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), and by 27 regulatory authorities from around the world.

 Elanco will continue to work with regulatory authorities, scientific experts and producers to advance the acceptance of ractopamine globally.

 Background:

  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) today held at Step 8 the global food safety standards for ractopamine hydrochloride (ractopamine) on the third day of its 34th Session in Geneva.
  • The CAC sought to advance the standards via consensus, but was unable to because of national interests.
  • A motion was initiated to use voting as a procedure to advance these standards, however the CAC decided to not use voting as means to advance the standards.
  • Thus, the failed vote was not on the adoption of the standards, but rather a decision to not use voting as means for advancement.
  • This decision to hold at Step 8 will become official when the report of the CAC is finalized on Saturday 9 July.
  • The human safety of meat products derived from food animals fed ractopamine has been confirmed by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 2004, 2006, and 2010 and by 27 regulatory authorities from around the world.1, 2, 3
  • Codex global food safety standards are designed to ensure that public health is protected and to facilitate the fair trade of safe food products, providing international food safety reference points for all countries.
  • Ractopamine is a feed ingredient for pigs that improves carcass leanness, increases average daily gain and improves feed efficiency, and for cattle that increases live weight gain and red meat yield and improves feed efficiency.
  • Ractopamine is not a hormone, antibiotic or genetically modified organism.
  • Codex standards would further help countries differentiate the feed ingredient ractopamine, a beta-agonist that can be safely used in food animal production, from other beta-agonists.
     

Next Steps:

Elanco will issue a press release once the report of the Commission is finalized on Saturday 9 July.

About Ractopamine:

Ractopamine is manufactured and marketed by Elanco under the trade names of Paylean® for swine and Optaflexx® for cattle.

Paylean use yields about 3 kilograms (or about 6 pounds) of additional lean pork and improves feed efficiency by 10%.4

Optaflexx use increases hot carcass weight by about 5.5 kilograms (or about 12 pounds) in steers and by about 5 kilograms (or about 11 pounds) in heifers.5, 6

About Codex:

The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 to be the joint food standards program of the WHO and FAO, agencies that are both under the umbrella of the United Nations.

The Commission consists of a little over 180 countries to date and has as its major purpose to create guidelines and standards that universally promote food safety and ensure fair trade practices in the food trade based on science.

It is a democratic organization with each country getting one vote on issues regardless of size or wealth.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission appoints a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) to provide advice on food safety issues.

JECFA is an expert body that provides independent scientific advice to Codex committees and to member countries of the WHO and FAO.

References


1 Evaluation of Certain Veterinary Drug Residues in Food (Sixty-second report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives). WHO Technical Report Series. No. 925, 2004.

2 Evaluation of Certain Veterinary Drug Residues in Animals and Foods (Sixty-sixth report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives). WHO Technical Report Series. No. 939, 2006.

3 Residue Evaluation of Certain Veterinary Drugs. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. FAO JECFA Monographs 9. 2010.

4 Apple JK et al. Meta-analysis of the ractopamine response in finishing swine. Prof. Anim. Sci. 2007. 23:179-196.

5 Elanco Study Nos. T4V200321, T4V080342, T4V160328, T4V480326, T4V080325 & T4V200324.

6 Projection based upon a summary of Optaflexx Post-approval Research in Heifers. October 2006. Data on file.

Source: Elanco