More Than 70 Ill after Eating Contaminated Organs

CHINA - At least 70 people in Guangdong province have suffered food poisoning over the past three days after eating pig organs contaminated with clenbuterol, the local health authority said over the weekend.
calendar icon 23 February 2009
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Three people remain in hospital for observation while the remaining have been discharged after treatment, said Wang Guobin, an official with the Guangzhou municipal public health bureau, according to official sources.

The victims complained of stomach ache and diarrhoea after eating pig organs bought in local markets since Thursday. All of them were from the Tianhe and Zengcheng districts of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, the authorities said on 21 February.

Mr Wang said initial investigations show that the pig organs were contaminated by clenbuterol, an additive that is banned in pig feed in China.

Three people have been detained for suspected involvement in raising and selling the contaminated pigs. Local authorities have found that the contaminated pigs came from farms in several places in Hunan province.

Clenbuterol, dubbed 'shouroujing', can prevent pigs from accumulating fat, but is harmful to humans and can be fatal. Clenbuterol residue often accumulates in organs such as the liver and lungs.

One of the largest food poisoning cases involving clenbuterol happened in Shanghai in September 2006 when 336 people were hospitalized after eating pig meat or organs contaminated with the additive.

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