You may have seen the disturbing stories in the news lately about controversial beta-agonist drugs--like zilpaterol and ractopamine--that are fed to animals to speed their weight gain.

Ractopamine, in particular, raises significant food safety and animal welfare concerns for U.S. and international consumers.  Unlike the U.S., more than 160 countries – including Russia, China, Taiwan, and the 27 members of the European Union -- ban or strictly limit the use of ractopamine, a drug used widely in animal feed that promotes growth in pigs, cattle, and turkeys.  Ractopamine is linked with serious health and behavioral problems in animals, and while human health studies are limited, those that exist raise serious concerns. 

While the U.S. has so far refused to join the international community in banning this risky drug in animal feed, the U.S. already has a  certified ractopamine-free program for pork exports to the E.U., and some corporate producers are already operating production plants that are 100%
ractopamine-free to meet international demand. Even pork giant Smithfield
Foods recently announced that it will stop feeding ractopamine to half its pig
herd, a move seen largely as an effort to please the lucrative Chinese market. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect the same for U.S. market as well.  In fact, some U.S. food companies already avoid meat produced with the feed additive, including Chipotle restaurants, producer Niman Ranch, and Whole Foods Markets. But in order for food companies to offer meat free of ractopamine, pork producers need to provide it.

Sign our petition to the top pork producers in the U.S. urging them to stop using ractopamine in pork production!

Read more about ractopamine


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