Tyson to stop buying cattle fed Merck supplement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Tyson Foods Inc. says it will no longer buy cattle fed a supplement that’s designed to bulk them up before slaughter, citing experts who suggest the drug may be causing animals to become lame.

The decision has raised concerns that less beef will be available, which would drive up consumer prices.

Tyson told cattle feeders this week it’s concerned about the incidences of cattle at its processing plants that had difficulty walking or moving.

Some experts have suggested the use of Merck Animal Health feed supplement Zilmax, or zipaterol, is a possible cause.

The company says it will suspend purchases of Zilmax-fed cattle, effective Sept. 6.

Merck contends it is confident Zilmax isn’t causing Tyson’s problems.

Tyson says this is not a food safety issue, but about animal well-being.

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