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Banned drug found in pork sample

By Hu Min (Shanghai Daily)

08:34, November 02, 2012

RACTOPAMINE, a banned drug added to animal feed to increase weight gain, has been found in a pork sample in Shanghai as Food and Drug Administration officials admitted yesterday safety hazards remain in beef and mutton due to loopholes in monitoring.

Officials said it is more difficult to monitor mutton and beef because most of them are imported from other parts of the country or overseas, whereas most of the city's pork supply is raised locally and is under strict daily monitoring.

More than 99 percent of pork products passed inspection. Ractopamine was detected on the kidneys of one pork sample out of 438 checked as of August, the administration said.

Ractopamine, better known in China as the lean meat powder, was banned in China in December 2011.

In the past, clenbuterol was more commonly used to increase weight gain of livestock. It speeds up muscle growth in livestock but is harmful to human health and has been linked to cancer.

Last year, the administration found 13 pork samples tainted with clenbuterol while 97 percent of samples passed tests.

Clenbuterol was found in sheep in one case this year, and the administration said the incidence of adding it to cattle feed is on the rise although no figures were given.

Officials said abuse of veterinary drugs also pose a threat to food safety and that while this issue has not been completely rectified progress has been made.

About 98.5 percent of pork, beef and mutton products and viscera products passed checks, while the figure as of August was 99.9 percent, officials said.

In a recent case, watchdog officials said beef in the city are safe after some residents received short messages claiming 570 cows infected with anthrax had been transported from Liaoning Province to Suzhou City in neighboring Jiangsu Province.

They said the city hasn't detected any cases of anthrax, a contagious disease that infects both livestock and humans, after people in Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces were diagnosed with the potentially fatal illness in August.

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