What would you call a drug that makes livestock grow lean meat faster? Agribusiness might call it a wonder drug, but increasingly consumers are learning that it’s too good to be true. Using ractopamine may pose human health risks and can compromise animal health and welfare. Ractopamine’s continued use in the United States hurts the agriculture industry as a whole.
Ractopamine makes livestock grow faster, with leaner meat and less fat. The livestock demonstrate higher feed efficiency, which means that they produce more meat from the same amount of feed. Even better, in the view of meat companies, ractopamine has no obvious effects on the quality of the meat. Consumers cannot look at pork chops and tell which were from pigs raised with ractopamine and which weren’t, nor can they taste the difference in the cooked chops.