Zilmax treated beef
Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:17 AM
This seems like a pretty distressing trend. Does anyone have any more information about this?
Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:37 AM
The solution is simple, don't buy questionable beef.
Know your grower!!!!!!
Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:49 AM
Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:05 AM
Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:10 AM
"As Beef Cattle Become Behemoths, Who Are Animal Scientists Serving?"
By Melody Petersen
Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:52 AM
After reading the article, which mentions that Zilmax was originally developed as a drug to treat asthma in humans, I did a search to see what side-effects it has, and there seem to be no current references to this use. Now I'm wondering whether it has been pulled for human use for any reason (I checked for the compound name, zilpaterol hydrochloride, in hopes of getting a broader overview). Anyone else find something in google scholar?
This is correct. Zilmax is Zilpaterol, which is a long acting beta-agonist. An "agonist" means that it stimulates a certain receptor, in this case Beta-receptors. Beta receptors are part of the autonomic nervous system, which you may have learnt in school as part of the "flight or fight" response. In addition to dilating lung bronchioles, beta agonists also make the heart beat stronger and faster, stimulates the pancreas to release Glucagon (which in turn makes the liver convert glycogen to glucose, freeing up energy to be used), and diverts blood flow from non-essential organs (e.g. intestines) to muscles. Overdosage will result in cardiomyopathies (disease of the heart muscle due to chronic overstimulation), hypertension, disturbed sleep patterns, psychiatric phenomena, and wastage of the organs which are deprived of blood flow.
As a doctor for humans, obviously my focus and my way of thinking is quite different to how a feedlot scientist might think. When I prescribe a long-acting beta agonist, my concern is to use the minimum dose required to achieve the desired effect (relief and prevention of asthma), whilst minimizing the side effects. I would imagine a feedlot owner couldn't care less if his cows were awake and suffering from nightmares (or should I say nightcattle?) all night or suffering from high blood pressure. What matters to them is the delivery of a quality product with no toxicity.
Given that I do not routinely sample the meat of my patients, I can not comment if the quality of the meat is different, nor do I know if the nutritional value of the meat has been changed. But - if you are wondering if you can be affected by ingesting beef which has been treated by this drug, I am pretty confident that it is safe on theoretical grounds.