Certain feed additives can increase weight gain during fattening. One of these controversial substances is zilpaterol.
Zilpaterol is a veterinary drug from the ß-agonist group, which are well-known as performance enhancer and growth promoter. Used as a feed additive during final fattening, zilpaterol increases the daily weight gain and improves the meat-to-fat ratio of cattle. Marketed under the trade name Zilmax®, zilpaterol is approved in some countries, including the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. In the EU and several African and Asian countries, however, the use of zilpaterol is strictly prohibited. In our video, Dr. Thomas Nick explains the risks associated with this drug:
While the available literature investigating the health effects of zilpaterol is limited, results indicate that the drug increases mortality, heart rate, respiration rate and agonistic behavior in cattle (source: EFSA Journal). There is a zero-tolerance policy in some countries, whereas the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has defined recommendations for maximum residue levels (MRLs). These levels are 3.3 μg/kg in kidney, 3.5 μg/kg in liver and 0.5 μg/kg in muscle.
As a result of inappropriate or illegal use, residues in food of animal origin may occur. To check whether laws and limit values are observed, meat products are regularly tested for residues of hormones and antibiotics within the framework of consumer protection.
R-Biopharm offers a wide range of test systems for residue analysis, which has now been extended by the new ELISA test RIDASCREEN® Zilpaterol (Art. No. R1721). This test enables highly sensitive and specific quantification of zilpaterol in meat, liver and kidney as well as in urine, serum/plasma and milk, making it suitable for both import control of meat products and monitoring of medication during fattening. The test allows a cost-effective and reliable analysis, even when handling large sample quantities.