Ractopamine in Pork: What Is It?

What is ractopamine?

Ractopamine is a beta-agonist, a class of agents acting in an opposite way to beta-blockers widely used in blood pressure medication.

Ractopamine is not considered safe for humans and is not an approved drug for humans. It is approved by the FDA for use in animals.

Why is ractopamine fed to pigs?

Ractopamine is a drug administered to pigs, usually as a feed additive, to increase the amount of lean meat or fat (depending on dosage). It’s typically fed to pigs in the weeks just before slaughter.

Ractopamine side effects for animals

Pigs fed with ractopamine suffer from extreme fatigue, trembling, mobility difficulties, hoof problems and death.

Countries that have banned ractopamine

E.U., China, Russia, Malaysia and Taiwan are among over 100 countries that have banned the use of ractopamine in meat animals.

Some people consider this a form of protectionism against much cheaper meat from US and Canada but the official explanation is the uncertainty about the potential deleterious health effects from consuming meat from animals fed ractopamine.

Is ractopamine used on other meat animals?

Yes. It is approved by the FDA for use on turkeys and cows.

Want to learn more about buying healthy meat?

Check out our Ethical Foods Meat Buying Guide

sous vide lamb with prunes

Sous Vide Lamb Shoulder Chop

Perfectly tender and medium rare all the way through, here is a method perfect for a thick lamb shoulder chop. Sustainable Food | Clean Eating… Read more

Cardamom Scented Grassfed Lamb Stew With Prunes Recipe

What do you think of prunes? This amazing pairing of lamb and prunes is guaranteed to give you a new perspective on this humble ingredient.… Read more

how to make your own cat food

Make Your Own Raw Cat Food

In the wild, cats eat snakes, lizards, insects, small mammals and birds. If you are like most cat owners, serving up a live bird or… Read more