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Tests Reveal Illegal Additive in Pig Feed

by 5m Editor
4 July 2011, at 7:44am

VIET NAM - A banned feed additive, salbutamol, has been found in pig feeds.

Around 17 per cent of animal feed samples of pigs on sale in HCM City and nearby Dong Nai province have been confirmed of using a poisonous chemical called salbutamol, according to the Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association (VINASTAS). VOV reports that, in recent times, many pig products containing banned poisonous chemicals have come onto the market, ringing a warning bell for consumers about food hygiene safety.

Nguyen Nam Vinh, chief representative of southern VINASTAS Office says the association's Study and Consumption Consultancy Centre has sent 12 animal feed samples from HCM City and Dong Nai province to the Technical Centre No. 3 for testing. The results show that two of the 12 samples (17 per cent) contain salbutamol, which is one of the chemicals that is prohibited for use in the market.

Mr Vinh says his association's test has only been conducted on a small scale due to limited costs and time so other relevant agencies need to investigate more carefully the content of feeds for animals to gain weight. If animal feeds contain poisonous chemicals, it means that there are also poisonous residues in meat sold to consumers, he explained.

Small breeders have been recently found mixing such substances into pig feeds for a quick profit.

Fed with these chemicals, pigs often put on weight so quickly that their meat becomes redder and leaner, Mr Vinh adds.

According to doctor Tran Van Ky from the Association of Science and Technology and Food Safety, salbutamol is very detrimental to human health. The improper use of the chemical may lead to diseases related to cardiovascular, muscles and joints, difficult pregnancy or serious side-effects causing birth deformity.

Flouting laws to make a quick profit

Despite the Government putting into effect decrees on animal feed control with responsibilities placed squarely on animal feed producers and businesses, it seems to be of no avail as livestock breeders continue using animal feeds containing stimulative chemicals, reports VOV.

Poor management and lack of tougher measures are attributed to the increasing use of poisonous chemicals in animal feeds in recent times.

Once detected, businesses are only fined tens of millions of VND or they have to stop illegal operations; no one has been prosecuted on criminal charges so far.

In fact, some businesses have changed their names to operate illicitly in other forms, paying no heed to the health of millions of consumers who might eat cattle and poultry products containing such poisonous chemicals.

Le Ba Lich, Chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association, underscores the need to impose tougher measures against law-breaking businesses.

To prevent this, relevant agencies need to strictly supervise and deal with violators to protect consumer health as well as the prestige of businesses with a good performance record.