Food testing companies profit from meat export ban

By Jenny EAGLE

- Last updated on GMT

Randox Food Diagnostics senior customer support scientist Mariclare McGarrity
Randox Food Diagnostics senior customer support scientist Mariclare McGarrity
The US and Brazil are experiencing difficulties exporting to Chinese, Russian and European food markets due to levels of beta-agonist veterinary drugs in meat, in particular Ractopamine and Zilpaterol.

With no resolution in sight between the import and export blocks, exporters have to ensure their product meets a zero tolerance drug residue limit to maintain trade links, which is creating business for food testing companies, according to Randox Food Diagnostics​.

The US Meat Export Federation claims the market is worth around $430m in China and $250m in Russia alone.

Over the last three months we have released Zilpaterol testing products on both ELISA and Biochip Multiplex formats onto the market. Both test for the semi-quantitative determination of Zilpaterol in beef tissue samples with an LOD of 0.08ng/ml and cross reactivity of 100% for both in Zilpaterol​,” said David Ferguson, global business manager, Randox Food Diagnostics.

So far the uptake has been very encouraging, both with importers and exporters with a particular demand being seen with major producers within Brazil and the US​.”

Beta-agonists are a group of drugs that act on b-adrenergic receptors used in veterinary and human medicine to treat cardiovascular and breathing disorders.  Commercially, they are used to increase muscle growth and decrease fat deposition in animals.

Zilpaterol is a beta adrenergic agonist that has been developed as a growth promoter for cattle leading to enhanced weight gain and carcass yield. Of particular concern is the use of beta agonist drugs prior to slaughter as this poses a risk to the human health if contaminated meat enters the food chain.

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