Neogen’s ractopamine test approved for Chinese pork exports

November 11, 2015

Press Release
CONTACT: John Heller, Neogen Corporation, 517.372.9200

LANSING, Mich., Nov. 11, 2015 – Neogen Corporation announced today that its rapid screening test for ractopamine, Alert® for Ractopamine, is approved for use to detect ractopamine in meat products, including pork products bound for China.

Ractopamine is a beta-agonist drug added to feed to promote lean muscle in animals raised for meat. While many countries allow the use of ractopamine within specified limits, including the United States, regulatory agencies in other countries have banned residues of the drug, including those in the European Union, Russia, and China.

“China and Russia are among the countries that have imposed import restrictions on certain U.S. meat products, which require documentation that the products are free of ractopamine,” said Ed Bradley, Neogen’s vice president of Food Safety. “While trade officials in the U.S. view the restrictions as unnecessary trade barriers, markets in which ractopamine residues are banned are worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually to U.S. meat producers. Until these trade issues can be resolved, companies seeking access to these markets may have no choice but to comply with the regulations.”

The effectiveness of Neogen’s Alert for Ractopamine test was evaluated by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and approved for use for the verification testing requirements for the Quality System Verification Program (QSVP) and Never Fed Beta Agonists Marketing Program. According to the USDA, establishments that wish to supply pork or beef to customers that require verification of a marketing claim that the meat is derived from animals that were never fed beta-agonists, and is free of beta-agonist residues, must develop a verification testing regime using an AMS-approved test method — which includes Alert for Ractopamine.

Alert for Ractopamine is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) meant for the qualitative determination of trace quantities of ractopamine in muscle tissue. The test is performed in microwells coated with a specific antibody to ractopamine, and its results in are obtained by reading the absorbance of the samples wells with a microplate reader, and comparing those results to absorbance values obtained from control wells.

Neogen Corporation develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. The company’s Food Safety Division markets dehydrated culture media, and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases and sanitation concerns. Neogen’s Animal Safety Division is a leader in the development of animal genomics along with the manufacturing and distribution of a variety of animal healthcare products, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary instruments, wound care and disinfectants.