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Torturous feed additive known to cause death and cripple pigs could be lurking in your holiday turkey


Ractopamine

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(NaturalNews) Family gatherings, gift shopping, holiday parties and delicious-looking home-cooked food spells the holiday for many of us. While often a time of indulgence, our standards for clean, healthy, toxin-free food mustn't be thrown out the window. With the passing of Thanksgiving, and with Christmas just around the corner, turkey will most likely be one of the biggest temptations; however, you might want to educate yourself on this toxic and unregulated ingredient before digging in.

Ractopamine, a beta-agonist, is fed to animals in order to increase the rate at which they convert feed to muscle by mimicking the body's stress hormones, as explained by Foodsafetynews.com.

Approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999, ractopamine is fed to turkeys, pigs and cattle, and while it's categorized as "NOT FOR HUMAN USE," the drug has shown up in meat samples tested by the USDA and Consumer Reports.

Livestock drug tortures animals, causing inability to walk, tremors and heart problems

Ractopamine was approved for use to feed cattle in 2003, and turkeys in 2008. Residues likely exist in meat, as there's no mandatory withdrawal period for the drug, meaning turkeys can be fed ractopamine, also known as Topmax, up until the day they're slaughtered.

Pigs suffer the most from ractopamine, experiencing horrendous complications including hyperactivity, trembling and the inability to walk, according to FDA documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and reported by the Food Babe. The drug, which has harmed more animals than any other livestock medication, had killed and sickened hundreds of thousands of pigs by March 2011.

FDA toxicology reports confirm that human exposure to ractopamine can lead to an increased heart rate and higher systolic blood pressure. Chronic exposure can cause abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, nervousness and metabolic problems.

The FDA claims that the drug is safe, since residues levels left in animals after slaughter don't violate the agency's "safe maximum residue limits" for ractopamine. Meat is rarely tested for this drug, so there's really no telling how much of it exists in America's meat.

Pigs fed ractopamine during the last weeks of their life produce an average of 10 percent more meat, raising profits an additional $2 per head, according to the drug's manufacturer, Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly that sells the drug under the brand name Paylean.

As with many drugs, the FDA's approval process relies on industry-funded studies. Elanco conducted a study on mice, rats, monkeys and dogs to learn how much ractopamine could be consumed safely. The one study completed involving people resulted in one of six healthy males being removed due to accelerated heart rate after exposure to the drug, reports TheFERN.org.

Livestock drug banned by multiple countries likely in your holiday turkey (unless it's organic)

Three food safety and environmental advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the FDA on November 6 claiming that the agency "has not sufficiently proven that ractopamine" is safe for animals and the people who eat them, reports FoodSafetyNews.com. The FDA has approved 11 new uses for ractopamine, despite inadequate testing on the drug's harmful effects.

Ractopamine isn't just controversial in the U.S.; in fact, multiple countries including the European Union, Russia, China and Taiwan have banned its use based on concerns about the drug's effect on people. Some U.S. meat exports have been rejected for ractopamine residues, and the EU won't accept anything that isn't certified as being ractopamine-free.

California banned the sale and slaughter of livestock too sick to walk, requiring sick animals to be euthanized immediately. Anyone caught violating the law could have gotten up to one year in jail and a $20,000 fine, but the Supreme Court struck down the law in January 2012, ruling that Americans can eat sick pigs and cows, according to FOX News.

The best way to avoid ractopamine this holiday season, is to buy an organic, non-GMO and vegetarian-fed turkey. While a bit more costly (add about $20 to what you'd normally pay), it's not only the healthy choice but also a moral decision that could potentially help end suffering for livestock if enough people push back and vote with their dollars.

Sources:

http://foodbabe.com

http://thefern.org

http://www.foodsafetynews.com

http://www.foxnews.com

http://www.reuters.com

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