The use of drugs/pharmaceuticals in cattle rearing is the object of a recent study, carried out by two researchers from the Centro de Estudos Farmacêuticos, Laboratório de Bromatologia, Hidrologia e Nutrição (Pharmaceutical Study Centre, Bromatology, Hydrology and Nutrition Laboratory) at the Pharmacy Faculty of Coimbra University. The consequences for consumers are, from a public health standpoint, the most significant conclusions to take from an exhaustive work of literary revision in these matters, started in 2000.
The fat content contained in the meat has been a concern for consumers, for reasons of health and diet, who consider it an unnecessary nutrient, or rather, best avoided. For this reason producers attempt to improve the return on their activities by producing more and better lean meat, and in the shortest possible space of time. In this context, the quantity of drugs/ pharmaceuticals used to promote animal growth has been increasing exponentially, especially connected to forms of intensive methods of farming, which has meant an increase in the availability of foods, but in the meanwhile it has also meant the presence of the residues of these products in not insignificant levels in meat.
The researchers Fernando Ramos and Maria Irene Noronha da Silveira have dedicated themselves to the study of the use of a group of pharmaceuticals known as andrenergic agonists b2. Part of the work of the authors – published in the Revista Portuguesa de Ciências Veterinárias (Portuguese Veterinary Science Magazine) in the Summer of 2002 – concentrates on the use of those substances in the average daily weight increase of chickens, swine, sheep and bovines, specifically the increase in muscle mass and the decrease of body fat. In fact, the andrenergic agonists b2 facilitate the production of leaner meat, but not without consequences, be it at a zootechny level, be it at levels of toxins for consumers. There have already been three cases of poisoning of groups of people in Portugal, between 1998 and 2001, and similar situations occurred in Spain, France and Italy in the last decade.
Fernando Ramos | alfa
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