In some countries, ractopamine is a drug that is used as a feed additive to promote leanness in animals raised for their meat.

Ractopamine has been banned in the European Union, Taiwan and mainland China . This ban has overrriden a decisión by The Codex Alimentarius Comision to allow its use under strict limits.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, the United Nations food standards body, has agreed on a set of residue limits for the veterinary drug ractopamine in animal tissues.

The 69-67 vote to adopt a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) — which is approved for boosting growth and increasing leanness in pigs, cattle and turkeys — is a big win for the United States’, Brazil’s and Canada’s trade interests.

The EU and China together produce and consume the vast majority of the world’s pork. Both have repeatedly have blocked ractopamine MRLs because they prevent their own producers from using the growth-promoter and don’t want to accept imported meat from pigs raised on the drug.