A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by advocacy groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) challenging the agency’s approval of livestock-feed products containing the growth promoter ractopamine.

According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled the advocacy groups failed to “exhaust their challenges directly with the FDA,” and couldn’t bring the case to federal court at this point in time.

Rogers pointed that the challenges brought by the plaintiffs are subject to regulations that require them to submit a citizen petition to the FDA and wait for a response before they can file claims in federal court.

See, “Suit Challenging FDA Approval of Livestock-Feed Products Dismissed”

The case was originally filed in November 2014 on claims from the advocacy groups that the FDA had failed to adequately assess environmental and health issues related to ractopamine. Read more here.

Elanco, which makes ractopamine-based products for pigs, cattle and turkeys, filed a motion in June to dismiss the lawsuits.  After the ruling, a company’s spokeswoman told reporters the company was “pleased with the court’s decision in this case.”

“The FDA approved ractopamine nearly 15 years ago, and we remain confident in its safety and the FDA’s approval process,” she added.

This decision is just the latest in battle over ractopamine. Over the last several years, a number of governments, including the European Union, China and Russia, banned the use of the drug in meat imported into their country.