While stating that it has not linked the beta-agonist Zilmax to any specific incidents involving animal well-being, Cargill says "more research is necessary to answer recently raised questions regarding the use of this product" and "supports Merck’s decision to suspend sales of Zilmax in the U.S. and Canada."

In a release posted on its website, Cargill says it will suspend purchase of Zilmax™-fed cattle in North America, "pending research being conducted by Merck. This will give producers adequate time to transition cattle currently being treated with Zilmax."

The company says that the last of the cattle currently being fed Zilmax that are in Cargill’s supply chain will be harvested by the end of September.

The release points out that there are no food safety issues associated with Zilmax or Cargill's decision. "Meat from cattle treated with Zilmax is safe to eat. Instead, this decision is linked to Cargill’s commitment to ensure the welfare of cattle harvested in the industry."

Read the release here.