by Dr. Richard Raymond
In a recent broadcast, NPR began what may be picked up by others with a story titled: A Muscle Drug for Pigs Comes Out Of The Shadows.
The title alone implies that hog farmers have been using this product secretively, behind the walls of their confinement units.
Calling it a “muscle drug” makes it sound even scarier. They could have added that it is a beta-agonist similar to beta-agonists used in human medicine and administered by an inhaler to kids with asthma and intravenously in women who go into labor too early.
Doesn’t sound so scary now, does it?
The story goes on to say that “Regulators in the EU, China, Russia and a variety of other countries have not approved the drug. They say there’s not yet enough evidence to prove that pork produced using ractopamine is safe to eat.”
Amazing stretch of why agonists are not used in those countries where there have been several outbreaks of human illness caused by the illegal use of clenbuteral, another beta-agonist but one with a very long half-life, meaning the meat consumed still had the active ingredient.
The half-life of ractopamine is something like four hours, meaning it is gone by the time the pig is slaughtered.
The USDA used to test for ractopamine residues, but since the tests always came out zero they use their dollars to test for something that might make us ill.
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