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What does it mean to sell "ractopamine-free" pigs?

Experts from Iowa State University's Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine department answer your questions on ractopamine use in growing pigs and show pigs.

13 February 2020, at 10:25am

Recently several United States processors announced their intention to process only pigs that are free of ractopamine. This has led to many questions about what it means to sell “ractopamine free pigs.”

Locke Karriker and Chris Rademacher of Iowa State University's Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine department have developed an FAQ document to help answer those questions.

Ractopamine Free Pork and Implications for Use in Growing Pigs: Frequently Asked Questions offers a summary of the relevant scientific data about ractopamine, and includes producer experiences and anecdotal information to guide producers adjusting to the new requirements. This document is intended for pork producers, swine exhibition participants, feed manufacturers and veterinarians. It will be updated as new questions arise.

Also, a new document from Jodi Sterle of Iowa State's animal science department is intended to incorporate available information into the decision-making process for management of market hog exhibitions, fairs and shows, by providing options for considerations.

Ractopamine (PayleanTM) Use in Show Pigs: Show Management Considerations for 2020 offers information, options and explanations for organisers, exhibitors and others associated with swine shows. It cautions readers that every situation is unique, and each show, fair and exhibition must make the decision that works for their specific circumstances.

Ractopamine is an FDA-approved feed additive used to produce leaner pork.