Drug-free pigs to keep Olympic athletes clean

CHINA - China will breed pigs using hormone-free food for next year's Olympic athletes to avoid false-positive doping tests and use global positioning satellites to ensure food safety at the games.
calendar icon 7 August 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Tomorrow marks the start of the one-year countdown to the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Qianxihe Food Group said the pork from its pigs would not cause Olympic athletes to fail doping tests due to residual antibiotics and steroids. In accordance with Beijing Olympics committee regulations, the company's pigs have been fed food without hormones and are part of the "Olympics Special Supply Pork" range. Last month, China announced it was taking steps to ensure athletes' food is safe and free of substances that could trigger a positive result in tests for banned performance-enhancing drugs.

"Anti-doping concerns during the Olympics have caused officials to tighten food safety regulations so that athletes will be guaranteed food quality," company spokesman Niu Shengnan said.

Niu said visitors to the three pig-rearing centers near Beijing had to pass a three-day quarantine process before getting in.

"No living organisms are allowed within 500 meters of the center ... Even when inspectors go, they must first be quarantined for three days before being allowed to set foot inside," Niu said. "We have already begun raising pigs for the games, so supplies should not be a problem," Niu said.

Food for athletes would be strictly monitored through every step of farming, processing and transport, Wang Wei, secretary-general of the Beijing organizing committee for the games.

"Our country and the Beijing municipal government are taking the food safety issue very seriously, especially for the Olympics," Wang said.

China will use global positioning satellites to ensure food safety for the Games. The high-tech plans are aimed at making sure healthy food is delivered to the 10,500 athletes residing in the Olympic Village. An "Olympic food safety logistics code" will be attached to products, Wang said.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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