You may soon be able to take a fresh breath of farm air without the stinging stench of cow manure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug on Tuesday, called Experior, that lowers the amount of ammonia gas emissions released by cattle and their waste.
The FDA says the idea is not just to reduce the smell of dung but to also make pastures more environmentally friendly.
“These ammonia gasses can come from many sources and can affect the health of people, animals and the environment,” said Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, in a press release.
According to the agency, ammonia gas emissions can cause atmospheric haze and harmful odours.
“High concentrations of ammonia can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat in both humans and animals.”
The FDA added that ammonia gases can contribute to excess nutrients being added to bodies of water, especially nitrogen and phosphorous.
This can cause “algae blooms, which block sunlight to aquatic plants, and eventually results in the death of aquatic animals due to a lack of oxygen in the water.”
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So what does this new drug mean for the meat from cattle treated with Experior?
The FDA said multiple studies showed the product was safe for the cattle and for people who eat any of the beef.
A summary of the tests found some of the meat tenderness and chewiness was reduced slightly, but “these differences were minor and unlikely to be noticed by the average consumer.”
So far, Experior has been approved for use in beef cattle, including steers and heifers, in their last days before slaughter.