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October 31, 2013
 

Taiwan finds zilpaterol in US beef imports

 


Cattle feed additive, zilpaterol, has been discovered in US beef imports to Taiwan, causing rising concerns over the use of the banned animal growth drugs in meat production.


The incident is the third such case to occur in Asia in less than a month.


Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration said that it had found beef tainted with the growth enhancer in a restaurant under Wowprime Corp, prompting authorities to increase checks on US meat imports. An official at Wowprime announced that it had destroyed all 203kg of tainted beef.
 
There is zero tolerance for zilpaterol, in most of Asia and Europe due to concerns about the side effects of the drugs. The detection of the additive has raised concerns that it may still be in the supply chain despite drug maker, Merck & Co, suspending sales of Zilmax, the top-selling zilpaterol-based additive, on August 16, 2013.

 

South Korea has suspended some US beef imports after detecting zilpaterol in meat from a unit of JBS USA earlier this month. For the same reason, the USDA has also reported that a Swift Beef Company plant in Texas, US, is not eligible to ship beef to the country due to the use of growth drugs.


Meanwhile, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has announced that it will no longer accept the delivery of Zilmax-fed cattle to conform with exchange guidelines for deliveries against CME live cattle futures.


Zilpaterol is a beta-agonist feed additive which 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 have helped to boost beef production within a limited herd of cattle in the US.

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