The United Nations food standards body has agreed on a set of residue limits in animal tissues for ractopamine, a veterinary drug mostly used to promote leanness in pigs raised for their meat.
“The decision was made after a rigorous process of scientific assessment to ascertain that the proposed levels of residues have no impact on human health,” the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a joint news release about the agreement reached by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
According to media reports, there is, so far, no global consensus on the safety of the feed additive, with some countries banning its use. The Commission does not address the authorisation of use of veterinary drugs in food producing animals, but establishes maximum residue levels for such drugs in foods.
In its agreement today, the Commission set the limits for the amount of ractopamine allowed in the tissues of pigs and cattle at 10 micrograms per kilogram of pig or cattle muscle, 40 micrograms per kilogram in liver and 90 micrograms per kilogram of the animals' kidneys.
The limits were approved through a vote by 69 votes for, 67 against, and seven abstentions, after an assessment carried out by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, a group of independent experts convened by FAO.
Friday July 6 2012/ United Nations.