A drug used in feed designed to keep pigs lean and boost their growth is jeopardizing American exports of pork, according to a news report.
MSNBC is reporting that traces of the drug, ractopamine hydrochloride, have been found in meat. The European Union, China, Taiwan and others have banned its use, citing concerns about its effect on human health.
Fed to an estimated 60 percent to 80 percent of pigs in the United States, the drug has sickened or killed more of them than any other livestock drug on the market, an MSNBC investigation of Food and Drug Administration records found. Cattle and turkeys have also suffered high numbers of illnesses from the drug.
The FDA, which regulates livestock drugs in the United States, deemed ractopamine safe in 1999 and approved it. Canada and 24 other countries approved the drug as well.
U.S. trade officials are now pressing more countries to accept meat from animals raised on ractopamine -- a move opposed by China and the EU.
MSNBC’s report was produced by the Food and Environment Reporting Network, an independent, non-profit news organization providing investigative reporting on food, agriculture and environmental health.