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Ractopamine: Wikis


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IUPAC name
CAS number 90274-24-1
PubChem 56052
MeSH Ractopamine
Molecular formula C18H23NO3
Molar mass 301.38
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Ractopamine is a drug that is used as a feed additive to promote leanness in pigs raised for their meat. The feed additive Paylean, produced by the U.S. company Elanco Animal Health, owned previously by Eli Lilly and Company, contains ractopamine hydrochloride. Paylean was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration on December 22, 1999, and has also been approved in more than 20 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and Thailand.[1] However it is banned in other countries, including China and Malaysia, which prohibited its use in 2002. [2]

Ractopamine in feed for animals is responsible for dramatic muscle growth, yet it is not a steroid or hormone, but rather a compound known as a beta agonist. Only a trace amount of ractopamine need be added for a marked increase in protein and decrease in fat accretion in animals, in particular swine. For the last 90 pounds of live weight gain, a mere 18.5 grams of ractopamine added to a ton of feed (20 ppm) will increase protein by 24% and decrease fat by 34%.[3]


International Controversies



In July 2007 Chinese officials seized U.S.-produced pork for containing ractopamine residues.[4] Further shipments of ractopamine fed pork were seized in September, though this time they were Canadian in origin. [2]


Ractopamine has been banned in Taiwan since 2006. [5]

In the summer of 2007, the substance caused considerable controversy in Taiwan. Two U.S. shipments including ractopamine-laced pork were rejected by Taiwan's health authorities, while the Taiwan government had been considering lifting the ban on such imports. [6] This resulted in mass protests in the capital of Taipei by swine farmers insisting that the ban remain in place. Department of Health Minister Hou Sheng-mou (侯勝茂) declared that there would be no lifting of the ban unless related laws were amended.


In Malaysia, the government has banned the use of the beta-agonist Ractopamine where it has been determined as a cause for cancer in humans who consume meat tainted with the chemical.

Former Malaysian Minister of Health, Dr. Chua Soi Lek stated that the Ministry of Health has determined that more than 70% of the pork sold in Kuala Lumpur contained 6500 ppm of ractopamine, making Malaysia among the countries with the highest concentration of contaminated meat[7].

On December 30 2008, the Malaysian Veterinary Services Department quarantined 10 out of the 656 pig farms in Malaysia as the livestock were found to contain the banned chemical.[8][9]

Psychological Effects

Ractopamine has also been implicated in making pigs more susceptible to handling stress, with behavioural and physiological changes, and in making them more aggressive.[10]


See also

External links


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