Paylean hearing lacks testimony

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SALEM, Ohio – Only eight people, including a 4-H member and two hog producers from northeast Ohio, showed up at a public hearing regarding the legality of Paylean last week at the state department of agriculture headquarters in Reynoldsburg.

The hearing was scheduled to gather input after a memo proposing revisions to the widely interpreted rule that currently prohibits feeding Paylean and other beta-agonists was issued and drew fire from livestock exhibition sponsors and exhibitors in late February.

Proposed changes. The proposed change would eliminate the clause in the code that says the exhibitor and their livestock testing positive for a beta-agonist or anabolic agent will be disqualified from any exhibition in Ohio, making it fully legal to feed Paylean and related additives.

Under the current clause, feeding Paylean or any beta-agonist or anabolic agent to exhibition hogs is illegal in Ohio, but the rule is often broken with no consequences.

The FDA approved Paylean as a feed additive for hog finishing rations in December 1999.

Next step. The next step in the attempt to rescind the rule is to bring the issue before a state Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. No date has been set for the review, but David Glauer, state veterinarian, expects to see the meeting scheduled within the next two weeks.

After the JCARR hearing is held, a final filing will be made and is subject to a 10-day holding before it goes into effect.

If the issue passes through the committee with no problems, “we will then let everyone know if it’s the true end of the issue,” Glauer said.

After all changes are made, fair board secretaries across the state will be provided copies of the final rule.

“The earliest we’re looking at is a late May effective date. If the rule is effective then, there is still time for the earlier shows to feed without the illegal aspect,” Glauer said.

Until the final ruling is filed and passed, the feeding of Paylean to show animals remains illegal in Ohio.

The rule does not apply to commercial producers, according to Glauer.

Hearing both sides. Limited testimony at the hearing presented both sides of the issue, including information that the additive “does not itself result in unflavorful pork and is accepted in the commercial industry,” according to Glauer, who also said he was surprised at the turnout for the hearing.

Trumbull County hog producer and 4-H adviser Kevin Turner also described himself as surprised at the lack of attendance.

“I went down planning to listen and hear what was being said. I thought there would be a lot of people there, and never thought I would testify,” he said.

Turner testified against the code change, noting that he “doesn’t think it’s the right thing for 4-H’ers” to feed Paylean.

“We tell the kids they can’t paint, can’t clip, can’t alter the shape or the color of their animals. Then why are we telling them they can alter them from the inside out,” he said.

“It totally goes against the 4-H motto,” he said.

Additive details. Paylean is a trademark of Eli Lilly and Company’s Elanco Animal Health brand of ractopamine hydrochloride, a beta-agonist.

The feed additive, available premixed in several brands of show feeds or alone for use in on-farm feed mixing, claims to increase average daily gain, feed efficiency and lean yield percentage. It works by causing the hog’s metabolism to shift nutrients from fat to muscle growth.

Since the additive was approved by the FDA when licensed, its use is permissible if fed by label instructions regardless of the Livestock Reform Act, according to David Glauer, state veterinarian.

By the label. Feeding Paylean is legal as long as label directions are followed. The label indicates it can be fed only from 150 pounds to 240 pounds live weight, and has no withdrawal time. Paylean is not for use in breeding animals and is not approved to be fed to any other species.

“The really important thing here is that when using any product, you must follow the label explicitly. No one can unilaterally decide to feed differently. We’ve got to enforce that producers read and follow labels,” Glauer said.

The additive produces a leaner, heavier muscled pig that is more susceptible to stresses associated with weather, transport, handling and show ring activities. Paylean does not affect meat quality or food safety.

(You can contact Andrea Myers at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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