Friday, August 14, 2015

Animal Drugs in Livestock Production: Raised without Ractopamine Labeling

NPR A Muscle Drug for Pigs Comes Out of the Shadows
This summer, an article that I wrote was published in the Duke Environmental Law Forum. Beyond the Food We Eat: Animal Drugs in Livestock Production, 25 Duke Envtl L. Forum 227 (2015).

In the article, I describe the pervasive use of pharmaceuticals in the livestock industry and raise concerns about the environmental hazards associated with more than a billion tons of animal waste containing antibiotics, hormones, and beta agonists.  I complain about lax regulation and an FDA animal drug approval process that relies almost exclusively on drug manufacturer testing.  Some of my suggestions to address these problems call for more transparency and more consumer awareness. One suggestion specifically calls for the use of labeling that identifies animals raised without specific drugs.

I am pleased to report that NPR just did a story on what appears to be the first approval of a "Produced without the use of ractopamine" label for pork.  Dan Charles, A Muscle Drug For Pigs Comes Out Of The Shadows, NPR Morning Edition, republished on The Salt, an NPR Blog (Aug. 14, 2015).

Unlike products regulated by FDA, meat labels have to be pre-approved by USDA.  As the NPR story points out, the USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) initially rejected the label, but recently approved it.  Interesting story -  here it is:


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