USFRA's View on Beta-Agonists

USFRA believes that farmers and ranchers and our partners utilize tools that help make the most of natural resources while keeping animals healthy and safe to produce a quality, nutritious and wholesome product for consumers. One example of this is the use of an animal feed ingredient called beta-agonists. Beta-agonists help animals make the most of the food they eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet, by building lean muscle instead of fat. That’s why beta-agonists, with guidance from veterinarians and animal nutritionists, are used in targeted way during a specific time in an animal’s life.

To date, there are hundreds of studies that reflect the safety of beta-agonists as a feed ingredient for use in animals raised for food. Research shows that beta-agonists are safe for the animals and for humans who consume their meat. That is why these products have been approved by both U.S. and international food safety authorities, such as Codex Alimentarius Commission, which provides worldwide standards. In addition to the United States, beta-agonists are approved for use in Canada, Australia and two dozen other countries across the developed world. 

Beta-agonists are used in cattle and pigs, working with the animal’s natural body processes. Animals, like humans, go through muscle-building changes with age. When animals are young, they use their food to build muscle, but as they age they begin to put on more fat – just as humans do. Beta-agonists help animals maintain their natural muscle-building ability over time, resulting in a leaner meat that consumers demand. 

Beta-agonists are metabolized, or eliminated from the body quickly, so the feed ingredient is not stored in the body for any length of time. Regardless of the type of animal, farmers and ranchers who decide to use beta-agonists work with nutritionists and veterinarians to determine how this tool best fits into their current feeding and animal care program. Similarly, they work with nutritionists and veterinarians to determine proper amounts needed that work best for the animal. Farmers and ranchers are always looking for ways to improve their management and care programs for their animals. They constantly research the best applications for existing tools, including the optimal uses for beta-agonists.

For more information on beta-agonist use in cattle and pigs visit: