Home Indiana Agriculture News Zilmax Suspension Raising More Questions on Both Sides

Zilmax Suspension Raising More Questions on Both Sides


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with USDA and Merck and Company to collect information about Zilmax – a cattle feed additive – to determine if it is unsafe. Merck and Company has temporarily suspended Zilmax sales in the U.S. and Canada – and Tyson Foods announced earlier this month it would stop accepting beef from cattle fed Zilmax – after observing animals arriving at slaughter facilities having trouble walking or moving. Tyson says its rejection of Zilmax-fed cattle is based solely on animal welfare – not food safety – and that the company had no idea what was causing the animals’ behavior – but animal health experts suggested the use of Zilmax as a possible cause.


The cattle industry – however – is wondering how this will affect beef markets – since Zilmax has been proven to boost carcass weights and lean-meat yield. In its livestock, dairy and poultry outlook report last week – USDA suggested impacts on beef supplies could be reduced if feeders switched to a different additive – Optaflexx – and lower corn prices allowed feeders to feed cattle heavier weights. However – some analysts estimate a switch from Zilmax to Optaflexx could reduce carcass weights by six to eight-pounds. Last year – average fed-cattle carcass weights increased nearly 19-pounds compared to 2011 – which correlates with the adoption of beta agonists – such as Zilmax.


FDA has received a very small number of reports of lameness or lying down in cattle fed Zilmax – according to Reuters – and it will review additional information about the additive – then notifying Merck and the public if it is found to be a safety concern.


Source: NAFB News Service