Zilmax, produced by Merck Animal Health, is feed supplement approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and given to cattle to improve feed conversion, resulting in more beef from each animal harvested. Given a situation where the U.S. cattle herd is at its lowest number since 1952, maximizing the yield from each animal is important.
Zilmax is part of a class of growth-promotants known as beta-agonists. It was approved for use in 2006 and debuted in the U.S. in 2007. Cargill was the last major beef packer to allow cattle fed Zilmax into its beef supply chain, in June 2012. Cargill studied Zilmax for years prior to doing so. One reason Cargill was initially reluctant to accept cattle fed Zilmax was a series of extensive beef tenderness tests that created concern about potential impact to product quality. During the years from 2006 to 2012, best practices were developed by the company’s cattle procurement and Research & Development teams to ensure product quality.
By 2012, an estimated 70 to 80 percent of the U.S. cattle herd was being fed Zilmax or Optaflexx. The latter is a similar growth promotant produced by Elanco that had been in use for nearly a decade. With such a high percent of cattle being fed beta-agonists, combined with a drought-depleted U.S. cattle herd, Cargill Beef determined that, when employing best practices, the business would accept Zilmax-fed cattle. Of the major U.S. packers, Cargill harvests the lowest percentage of cattle fed Zilmax.
In early August 2013, animal well-being issues potentially linked to Zilmax surfaced at a National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) meeting. Multiple packers referenced situations that they believed may have been linked to Zilmax, although no scientific studies had made such a connection. Dr. Temple Grandin, the world-renowned animal welfare expert, was present and expressed concerns. While Cargill has not linked Zilmax to any specific incidents involving animal well-being, the company does believe more research is necessary to answer recently raised questions regarding the use of this product.
Consequently, Cargill supports Merck’s decision to suspend sales of Zilmax in the U.S. and Canada. The last of the cattle currently being fed Zilmax that are in Cargill’s supply chain will be harvested by the end of September. Cargill will be suspending 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.
Cargill believes Merck’s decision to suspend sales of Zilmax until additional research can be conducted is prudent. Consequently, Merck has reached out to the industry and one of the steps it is taking involves the creation of an advisory board. Dr. Mike Siemens, Cargill’s head of animal welfare and husbandry, will represent Cargill on that board.
There are no food safety issues associated with Zilmax or this 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 more on the Zilmax issue:
Cargill Feed for Thought Survey: U.S., Brazilian consumers more likely to buy beef raised without antibiotics
23 Aug 2016
Surveys comparing consumer attitudes in the two largest beef-producing countries – the United States and Brazil – reveals several important trends in purchasing preference that are influenced by how beef is raised and fed.
Cargill’s 2016 Annual Report Highlights its Vision for Driving Change
17 Aug 2016
“A pivotal year.” These words headline the letter from Cargill Chairman and CEO Dave MacLennan and Executive Vice President and CFO Marcel Smits to readers of Cargill’s 2016 Annual Report, issued today.
Cargill reports fiscal 2016 fourth-quarter and full-year results
09 Aug 2016
Cargill today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended May 31, 2016.
Cargill Takes Kosher Salt to Next Level
09 Aug 2016
Foodservice operators can improve the taste of their fried foods and seasonings better than they ever have before and they will waste less salt using Cargill’s new Diamond Crystal® Fine Kosher Salt.
Cargill turkey slices antibiotic use, creates Honest Turkey™ antibiotic-free product line
09 Aug 2016
Cargill is again reducing antibiotic use in its turkey business, making good on its promise of ongoing reductions in their overall use. On Aug. 1, 2016, the company ended the use of gentamicin – an antibiotic used in both human and animal healthcare – for disease prevention in turkeys harvested for its two largest brands, Honeysuckle White® and Shady Brook Farms®. Turkeys will continue to receive antibiotics for control and treatment of disease. Cargill’s turkey products covered by this decision will be available in the marketplace by Jan. 1, 2017.
Cargill to sell two European oilseed processing facilities to Bunge
05 Aug 2016
Cargill and Bunge Limited today announced their intention to enter into an agreement under which Cargill will sell to Bunge two oilseed processing plants and businesses in the Netherlands and France.
Cargill to sell Texas cattle feed yards to Friona Industries
08 Jul 2016
Cargill is announcing the sale of its beef cattle feed yards at Bovina and Dalhart, Texas, to Amarillo-based Friona Industries, L.P. Terms of the pending sale are not being disclosed. Finalization of the transaction will take place upon the completion of definitive agreements and any required regulatory reviews. Cargill will retain its cattle feed yards at Yuma, Colo., and Leoti, Kan.
Agrium to acquire Cargill’s U.S. Ag-Retail business
06 Jul 2016
Agrium Inc. (TSX and NYSE: AGU) announced today a binding purchase agreement between its Crop Production Services (“CPS”) and Cargill AgHorizons (U.S.) (“Cargill”) for the acquisition of 18 ag-retail locations with annual revenues of over $150-million. The outlets are located across the northern U.S. corn-belt region, in the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
Cargill finds consumers continuing to look for lower saturates in its FATitudes™ primary research
29 Jun 2016
Cargill’s primary market research data FATitudes™—the consumer perspective of fat and oils in North America—has found that after sugar, fat is the second-most important ingredient consumers are monitoring on food product labels.
Cargill’s goal: Help improve more than 1 million people’s lives by 2020
14 Jun 2016
Through a broad set of programs focused on the intersection of food security, sustainability and nutrition, Cargill is awarding more than $13 million in grants that will improve the lives of more than 1 million people in 15 countries around the world.
Cargill releases the EWOS sustainability report
08 Jun 2016
Cargill’s EWOS brand continues to make measureable progress in its key sustainability indicators, according to its annual sustainability report issued today. The EWOS sustainability report is an integrated report based on GRI G4 and captures important performance measures on environmental and social indicators.
Cargill to acquire Fort Worth-based Five Star Custom Foods, Ltd.
01 Jun 2016
Cargill has signed an agreement to acquire Fort Worth, Texas-based Five Star Custom Foods, Ltd., a business specializing in cooked protein products and custom prepared soups and sauces for the foodservice and food processing sectors.
U.S. FDA issues GRAS No Objection Letter for EverSweet™ next-generation sweetener
01 Jun 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) No Objection Letter, for Cargill’s next-generation sweetener, EverSweet, qualifying it for use in food and beverages.
Cargill opens $8.5 million animal nutrition plant in Nghệ An
30 May 2016
The new facility will provide animal feed for livestock and will have a total capacity of 66,000 metric tons per year.
JFC and Cargill to Build Poultry Processing Facility
25 May 2016
Jollibee Foods Corporation (“JFC”), the largest Asian food service company, and Cargill Philippines, Inc. (“Cargill Philippines”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cargill Inc. (“Cargill”), have entered into an agreement to build and operate a poultry processing plant in Santo Tomas, Batangas, in the Philippines.
Lights, camera, gobble?
Arkansas turkey farmers featured in online vignettes
05 May 2016
Busily scurrying around Northwest Arkansas one recent week, a video production crew captured audio and images from a pair of family-owned farms that raise turkeys for Honeysuckle White® and Shady Brook Farms®, and scouted a third farm for a future taping session. While curious, the turkeys were mostly oblivious to the activity related to videotaping efforts that will result in 60-second online vignettes celebrating farmers who produce the turkey we enjoy eating.
U.S. consumers hooked on health benefits of fish, Cargill survey finds
04 May 2016
According to a recent Cargill Animal Nutrition survey, U.S. consumers recognize there are more health benefits associated with eating fish and seafood compared to taking fish oil supplements. Consumers understand that the health benefits of fish, the world’s fastest growing protein source, outweigh that of fish oil supplements, despite their popularity.
$27 million “egg-spansion” to be dedicated at Michigan Cargill plant; 50 new jobs added
03 May 2016
Midday on Friday, May 6, Cargill, its customers, community leaders, government officials and employees will dedicate a $27 million expansion of the company’s Lake Odessa egg processing facility. The investment provides additional, specialized, egg processing capabilities for an important Cargill customer in support of its branded product business growth needs.
Cargill research identifies trio of novel solutions to reduce saturated fats in baked goods
03 May 2016
Using starches, vegetable waxes and emulsions, Cargill scientists have created fat systems that lower saturated fat by as much as 40 percent in shortenings, without compromising finished product attributes. Cargill researchers presented the three novel approaches to reducing saturated fat in bakery applications this week during the American Oil Chemists’ Society annual meeting.
Ventura Foods to acquire Cargill’s Dressings, Sauces and Mayonnaise business
03 May 2016
Cargill has reached an agreement to sell its Dressings, Sauces and Mayonnaise (DSM) business to Ventura Foods, based in Brea, California.
Cargill invests €20 million to expand animal nutrition facility in Spain
22 Apr 2016
Cargill’s animal nutrition business will streamline its production capabilities in Spain by extending its facility in Mequinenza (Zaragoza) with an additional state-of-the art production line. The €20 million (USD22 million) investment will create more than 20 new jobs.
NatureWax acquisition expands Cargill’s bio-industrial portfolio
19 Apr 2016
To help premium candle makers in North America meet the growing demand for cleaner, non-petroleum-based wax blends, Cargill has acquired NatureWax, a market-leading provider of natural, vegetable-based waxes.
Cargill’s Joe Stone Joins World Food Program USA Board of Directors
14 Apr 2016
World Food Program USA (WFP USA) announced today that Cargill Corporate Senior Vice President Joe Stone has joined the non-profit’s board of directors, bringing with him more than two decades of experience in agricultural development, market access, and food security.