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CAC46/ Maximum residue limits for zilpaterol adopted by Codex Alimentarius Commission


The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has voted to adopt maximum residue limits (MRLs) for zilpaterol hydrochloride. The MRLs have been the subject of debate within the Commission for some years and Chairperson Steve Wearne had made it clear that he and the Vice-Chairpersons had perceived among the Members “a recognition that time is now growing short, and a sense of impatience that this issue should be resolved at CAC46.” This impatience was reflected in discussions during the plenary session.

The decision to adopt the MRLs followed a lively debate which saw the Commission vote first on whether to proceed with adoption.

The adopted MRLs relate to the use of zilpaterol hydrochloride (zilpaterol) as a growth promoter administered to cattle. The FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which is comprised of international experts, concluded that there is no evidence or data suggesting that the exposure of consumers to residues of zilpaterol in food respecting the MRLs recommended by JECFA, would impact negatively on human health. The Commission accepted these findings. 

The issue of growth promoters is typically a controversial subject within CAC and zilpaterol has been the subject of debate for over a decade. These discussions conclude the debate unless and until new data become available and Members express a need to revisit the issue.

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