A scientific advisory panel is studying a feed additive which helps cattle pack on the pounds. Zilmax has been pulled off the market while it's studied, but Dr. Ron Gill says the case is being blown out of proportion. Gill is Associate Head of Extension Animal Science at Texas A&M.
“It’s not a hormone, it’s not a steroid, and it only adds 20-to-30 pounds of weight to a carcass on a 1300-pound animal,” Dr. Gill says. “That’s not all that much.”
He says stories about cattle getting so big they can't walk are not factual. Although Tyson Foods decided to stop using cattle fed Zilmax last month, this wasn’t a step taken to protect the consumer.
“This has never been a food safety issue,” he says. “There was some concern about mobility in some cattle. There really has not been any research data to support this product causing lameness in cattle.”
Zilmax is used by producers to increase the amount of sellable meat on a cow's carcass.