CCA moves against beta agonist registration in Australia

Jon Condon, 04/09/2013


Up to 80 pc of US fed cattle receive a beta agonist feed additive, for productivity reasons Cattle Council of Australia has moved to oppose any attempt to register beta agonist growth promotant products in Australia for the time being, passing a resolution to that effect at its board meeting in Melbourne on Friday.

The resolution, passed unanimously, says that CCA at this stage does not support the registration of beta-agonists for use in the Australian beef industry.

“The decision was made purely on the premise that there are too may important export markets currently serviced by Australia that do not accept beef produced using beta agonists,” CCA chief executive Jed Matz told Beef Central.

Those markets include Russia, China, the EU and parts of the Middle East.

The flipside of beta agonist use, as experienced in the US industry where 80pc of fed cattle receive the feed additive, is their colossal impact on feedlot weightgain, ultimate carcase weight, feed conversion efficiency and carcase meat yield.

For this reason CCA will also ask Meat & Livestock Australia to undertake an economic analysis of the effect – should the compounds be introduced into Australia  – they would have not only on market access, but also as a productivity tool influencing producers’ ability to increase their income.

“We want the analysis to look at the positives and negatives of introducing the product. Once we have that information, we will revisit our position,” Mr Matz said.

He said Cattle Council felt the broader industry was interested to know what CCA’s position was on the subject, given recent publicity.

“The APVMA hasn’t asked us to comment on it yet, and it may not for a number of years, so if international markets should develop MRLs covering the use of beta agonists, circumstances might change,” Mr Matz said. “Issues like this can be a moving feast, but at this stage, market access is the number one priority for our producers’ profitability, over any other consideration.”

Cattle Council’s decision on Friday follows a detailed scrutiny by Beef Central of the issues surrounding the use of beta agonists in Australian beef production systems, as well as overseas, over the past three months. This followed moves by beta agonist manufacturer, Merck, towards a formal registration process for its Zilmax product earlier this year. 

Read some of Beef Central’s earlier reports here:





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