Pork with Anabolic Steroid Found in HCM City

VIET NAM - More than 10 per cent of pork tested in Ho Chi Minh City this year has been found containing clenbuterol that was fed to the animal to keep their meat lean, officials said Wednesday.
calendar icon 6 November 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

ThanhNien News.com reports that the city Animal Health Department had taken nearly 500 samples of pork from markets and slaughterhouses in the city. Around 50 tested positive for the substance, the department told a meeting with HCMC Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local pork traders.

The figure was down 30 per cent compared to 2008 but the department cautioned that the contamination could be higher because the establishments were informed of inspections in advance and could have taken evasive action.

More than 100 pork traders at the meeting were asked not to buy pigs that were fed with the chemical and cooperate with the city authorities to track down farms that used the chemical, which is prescribed to patients with breathing disorders as a decongestant and bronchodilator, but also used as an anabolic and metabolism accelerator.

Clenbuterol accelerates the catabolism of fat in pigs. It not only shortens growth time but also increases the sale price of pork and pig organs.

Long-term consumption of the medicine can lead to malignant tumors, posing dangers, especially to patients with high blood pressure or diabetes. People with excess intake of clenbuterol can develop palpitations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tightness of chest, anxiety, shivering, weakness and instability. The toxicity cannot be eliminated through cooking.

The use of clenbuterol in Europe is limited to horses.

In February, at least 70 people in China’s Guangdong Province suffered food poisoning after eating pig’s organs containing clenbuterol. The victims complained of stomachache and diarrhea, according to reports by the Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the Food Supply Chain network supported by the European Commission.

Since 1998, there have been at least 19 clenbuterol food poisoning cases in China affecting more than 1,750 people including one confirmed death, the network said.

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