In 2012, the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted maximum residue limits (MRLs) for ractopamine in pig and cattle tissues. Egypt, a country that records a high consumption of beef liver, conducted a health risk assessment to estimate the risks associated with the adoption of Codex MRLs and the possible adoption of alternative values that may offer higher protection. Ractopamine was characterized based on previous assessments performed by international regulatory agencies, and an acceptable daily intake was set at 1 µg/kg bw for both chronic and acute ractopamine exposure. Beef liver consumption data for the Egyptian population were collected through a field survey (529 households, 1929 individuals). The standard body weight of 60 kg was used, as well as 70 kg, as a potentially more representative weight for the Egyptian population. Simulations showed that when the MRL for ractopamine in beef liver is set to 40 µg/kg (Codex MRL) or 20 µg/kg, the health-based guidance value of 1 µg/kg bw was not exceeded, as a result of chronic or acute exposure. An MRL of 20 µg/kg of ractopamine in beef liver was shown to provide optimum protection of Egyptian consumers, considering other potential sources of ractopamine intake and abnormally high consumption patterns, and was therefore recommended for adoption in Egypt. This study presents the inputs, model, and results of the probabilistic risk assessment that supported such recommendation.
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