University of Wisconsin (UW) scientists first identified Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) as an anti-cancer compound found primarily in meats and dairy products. Research results with mice and humans look somewhat promising. Swine studies are now under way, not only in the U.S., but worldwide.

Scientists speculate market animals fed CLA could have less fat and more muscle, an increased rate of gain and improved feed efficiency. Research trials are following the product from feed trough to dinner table. Could a more healthful meat product result from feeding pigs CLA?

Mark Cook, UW, did the world's first CLA swine study. While he's enthusiastic about the product, he says it's a little early to make sweeping pork industry recommendations. Cook says producers should keep their eyes open. More scientific results will be released within the next month.

"Take the time to get informed as the research results become public, then you can make a good decision," Cook suggests.

Lee Johnston, University of Minnesota, agrees. He tells producers to analyze the data to see if animals fed CLA respond consistently under commercial conditions. "We can be guardedly optimistic, but it is hard to figure out if it's going to be cost effective until we know about the consistency of the response," Johnston says. UW maintains a Web page of CLA research worldwide. The address is: www.poultry.wisc.edu/cla