Codex Stalls Decision On Ractopamine

Codex Stalls Decision On Ractopamine

Consensus basis allows dissenting members to block action.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission stalled a decision on July 6 on the food safety standards for ractopamine, a feed ingredient known by its Elanco tradename, Paylean, that is used to improve leanness in the meat from pigs. In cattle, Elanco sells ractopamine as Optaflexx to increase live weight gain, redmeat yield, and improve feed efficiency.

Elanco, the manufacturer of Paylean and Optaflexx, sought a decision from Codex on setting global standards for ractopamine.

Ractopamine is approved in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a feed ingredient, but it is banned by several foreign countries which has become a barrier for U.S. meat exports to some countries.

"Elanco is disappointed that Codex held at Step 8 the global food safety standards for ractopamine hydrochloride. It is critical to note that the human safety of meat from food animals fed ractopamine has been confirmed three times by Codex's own scientific advisory committee, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, and by 27 regulatory authorities from around the world," a statement on July 6 from Elanco reported.

Elanco reported the decision to delay ractopamine food safety standards was the result of procedural considerations. Codex, like most international agencies, operates on a "consensus" basis, which allows dissenting members to block actions. The consensus process was blocked by "national interests," Elanco reported, and a motion to use voting as a procedure to advance these standards was also nixed.

The company reported it "will continue to work with regulatory authorities, scientific experts and producers to advance the acceptance of ractopamine globally."

"U.S. pork producers are very disappointed that the Codex commission succumbed to the bullying of countries that had no scientific reasons for opposing adoption of a standard for ractopamine," said NPPC President Doug Wolf, a producer from Lancaster, Wis. "This is a scientifically proven safe product, and the commission failed again to act on its mandate to base  standards and guidelines on science. This lack of action calls into question Codex's legitimacy as the international reference body for scientific standards for food."

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