Pointing to the continuing “boycott” by the largest slaughterhouses (I know, the “PC” term is “processing facilities” — but I say let’s call them what they are) as a cause of the delay in re-certifying beef bulked up with Zilmax® — Merck has nonetheless outlined a plan to reintroduce the feed additive — relying on a blue-ribbon panel of experts for the design of the process.
Here’s a bit from Drovers Cattle Network — do go read it all:
. . . .Merck technical services specialist John Hutcheson, PhD, told AVC attendees the company is moving forward with its “five-steps to responsible beef” plan, which it announced when it suspended sales of Zilmax. Early on, the company formed an advisory board consisting of 19 members including scientists, veterinarians, nutritionists, large and small cattle feeders, packers and other industry representatives. The company agreed to follow the guidance of the advisory board in executing its five-point plan. . . .
The board also developed a plan for ongoing scientific field studies to evaluate Zilmax and non-Zilmax cattle for mobility at multiple packing plants in multiple regions, seasons, management settings and environments, using third-party evaluators for scoring. Some studies have been completed and several more are underway. Studies will focus on the final 30 days of feeding up to slaughter. . . .
Moving forward, the company intends to initiate large-scale mobility studies to directly compare cattle fed Zilmax with control cattle, which Hutcheson says will occur as soon as packing plants agree to slaughter study cattle. . . .
We will keep you posted, but if Merck can’t convince one or more of the largest US processing facilities (i.e., Cargill and Tyson, among others) to test the post-slaughter Zilmax-fed beef, this plan will take quite a while to reach a statistically significant data-set of results. Just my $0.02. So, I’m looking at about mid 2014 for the US and Canada reintroduction, then — if all goes well in these studies, of course.