EU opposes ractopamine limit

By Kitty So

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

The European Union (EU) is opposing a decision to create an international limit on the use of ractopamine, a fattening agent for pigs and cattle, arguing that the substance should not be used at all because of potential health risks to humans.

Responding to a vote at the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the world’s global food standards body, a European Commission communiqué said it would continue to ban ractopamine in all 27 EU member states, in domestic meat production and in imports: “[The] EU bans imports of meat from certain countries because they use it [ractopamine], and we intend to continue to do so,”​ said Frédéric Vincent, a Commission health and consumer policy spokesperson.

Several countries, including China, Russia, and India, also oppose ractopamine use, said the communiqué.

The Codex Commission proposed a set amount of ractopamine to be considered safe for human consumption at the annual meeting of its 185 member countries (held 2-7 July). The United Nations (UN) created Codex to set international food quality and safety guidelines.

Codex based the limit on a risk assessment of acceptable levels of ractopamine consumption by a UN and World Trade Organization joint committee, said the European Food Safety Authority, which has rejected the findings because of claimed “weakness and uncertainties”.

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