Outbreak of Clenbuterol Food Poisoning

by 5m Editor
18 November 2008, at 7:14am

CHINA - Clenbuterol food poisoning has been reported in 70 patients in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province.

Since November 10, 70 employees of the Zhongmao Plastics Products company in Jiaxing have been diagnosed with the poisoning, according to Epoch Times. A pork dish served at the Zhongmao cafeteria lunch meal was identified as the source.

A Chinese hospital doctor Hao Jun confirmed that the patients shared similar and obvious symptoms: palpitation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, chest tightness, uneasiness, shaking, trembling, weakness, and instability.

He said, "Some patients have been seen at the hospital. More than 20 patients suffered from severe poisoning. Others were seen at other hospitals. Most patients have been released. Those who were in critical condition have also been stabilized, although the side effects are yet to be observed."

Intentional Adulteration of Animal Feed

Dr Hao Jun indicated that clenbuterol is an asthma medicine. It will speed up the catabolism of fat in pigs if used in pig feed. It will also enhance the lean meat and muscle in pigs. It is heat stable and will not decompose until it is heated to over 172° Celsius. Therefore, cooking will not eliminate clenbuterol toxicity. It will accumulate in the human body through ingestion. Long-term consumption will lead to malignant tumors and pose particular danger to patients who have high blood pressure or diabetes. If the intake is excessive, the poisoning can be life-threatening.

Dr Hao mentioned that because one of his relatives owns a pig feed company, he was made aware of the 'secret' about pig feed additives. Clenbuterol added to feed will not only shorten the growth time, but also increase the sale price. Growth hormone is also added. Poison chemicals such as arsenic have also been added to enhance the redness and shine of the pork skin and hair. Some might even add tranquilizers or sleeping pills to make pigs sleep. Long-term consumption of pork adulterated with these feeds might lead to retardation. The hormones and chemicals could also endanger lives and lead to many illnesses.

Same Old Government Line

"It is not realistic to expect the public be cautious. The critical point is the monitoring mechanism of the government," Dr Hao said. "The government's response has always been the same: The case is being investigated and sanction is warranted. However, it always ends with no action. Therefore, those who committed the crime have nothing to fear. I believe there’s some sort of collusion and conflict of interest between the business and the officials."

Pork containing clenbuterol often has a bright red skin with very little fat.

According to the data available, there have been at least 18 clenbuterol food poisoning cases in China since 1998. More than 1,700 people have been poisoned, with one confirmed death.

Between October 8 and 18, there were three food poisonings confirmed caused by clenbuterol in pork meals in Guangdong Province.

During September 2006, a series of food borne illnesses exploded in Shanghai and sickened more than 300 people. These were confirmed to be related to meals with pork or pig intestines containing clenbuterol. In June of the same year, employees of a hotel in Foshan suffered from clenbuterol food poisoning. Also, hundreds of workers in a glass factory in Guangdong Province were poisoned by meals containing clenbuterol in May.

Dr Hao Jun emphasized, "Considering the infant formula food-borne illness [melamine poisoning], and the massive incidences of poor food quality and safety, problems in China's processed foods are increasingly worrisome."

5m Editor