Merck Abruptly Suspends Sales of Cattle-Feed Additive Zilmax


Drug manufacturer Merck announced today it is suspending sales of cattle-feed additive Zilmax in Canada and the United States, one week after Tyson Foods announced it would not buy Zilmax-fed cows. The producer said it was working with Merck on the issue, and meanwhile the pharmaceutical company had attested to the safety of its products, but it had received numerous reports of animals "delivered to its plants with difficulty walking or being unable to move." The growth-enhancing drug is deployed as a food additive for short periods of cattle's lives and typically gives processors better yields in the form of dozens of pounds of more meat. It remains unclear what's causing the animals to go lame, and for now Merck says its decision is based on "animal welfare, not food safety," the Associated Press reports. [AP, Earlier]