Most people have never heard of ractopamine. It is a growth drug fed to hogs and cattle to make them put on weight. (Additional weight with less feed means more money for the farmer per animal.) There are questions about the drugs safety for the animals and the humans eating them.
What is Ractopamine? It is a beta-agonist. That defines “a class of medication that relax muscles of the airways, which widens the airways and results in easier breathing”. It is a drug originally developed to treat asthma in humans. It also helps animals develop more muscle instead of fat. This helps farmers meet the consumer demand for leaner meat and makes heavier animals to market.
“The drug has triggered more adverse reports in pigs than any other animal drug on the market,” Helena Bottemiller reported for the Food and Environment Reporting Network in 2012. Ractopamine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in animals.
Have you figured out whose health the FDA is looking out for?
More on this drug and its use on animals is here: FORTUNE MAGAZINE STORY