Feed additives

Background last update:14 Jan 2016

Taiwan: More US beef detected with banned feed additive

Health officials in Taiwan have detected banned feed additive zilpaterol in US imported beef, another incident in less than a month raises concern across the region. The tainted meat was confiscated and destroyed from a major restaurant chain by Taipei City’s Department of Health..

Earlier this week the Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration found the beef tainted with the growth enhancer in a restaurant owned by Wowprime prompting authorities to increase checks on US meat imports.

The department also confiscated 83kg of beef in the company's storage room and said it would destroy the meat after the administrative procedures are completed.

Beef products with the drug have been found six times since September 2012, but the latest discovery marks only the second time since 2010 that beef with zilpaterol has been found in the local market.

Zilpaterol is a beta-agonist, a kind of feed additive that can add as much as 30 pounds of saleable meat to an animal in the weeks before slaughter. Originally developed as asthma drugs for humans, beta-antagonists in a decade of use have helped bolster the ability to produce more beef with fewer cattle in the United States.

Zilpaterol is more toxic than the feed additive ractopamine. According to local regulations, the maximum allowable level of ractopamine residue in beef is 10 parts per billion (ppb), while zilpaterol is completely banned.

There is zero tolerance for feed additives such as zilpaterol in much of Asia and Europe due to concerns about the side effects of such drugs, which are used to add muscle weight to animals.


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