VietNamNet Bridge - About 30 percent of the pork tested in Ho Chi Minh City was found tainted with clenbuterol, which was fed to pigs to keep their meat lean but endangers the health of pork consumers.
Out of nearly 500 samples of pork recently taken by the city Veterinary Sub-department from markets and slaughterhouses in six districts, 150 samples tested positive to the substance, said Dr. Huynh Huu Tho, head of the Diagnostics, Testing and Treatment Station under the Sub-department.
It is worryingly that before the test result was available, all of the pork from which the samples were taken has been sold on the market, Dr. Tho said.
People with excess intake of clenbuterol can develop cancer complications, acute poisoning, muscular tremble, heart attack, rapid heartbeat, hypertension, and dizziness.
Clenbuterol has been put in the list of 18 kinds of substances strictly banned from use in breeding since 2002, but breeders who run after profit still use it to feed their pigs, said Hoang Kim Giao, director of the Livestock Breeding Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Breeders usually feed their pigs with clenbuterol about 21 days before they sell the animals, said Dr. Tho.
As an extreme powerful substance, 1 kg of clenbutero can be used to mix with 1 ton of feed for pigs, he said.
Clenbuterol in pork was found in Vietnam several years ago and this substance are used by pig breeders to feed the animals to reduce their body fat while building their muscles, said Nguyen Cong Khan, head of the Ministry of Health's Food Hygiene and Safety Department.
In anticipation the consumption of pork will increase during Tet, the Health Ministry has coordinated with other relevant ministries to tighten control over the use of clenbuterol.
Pork in Northern Vietnam has so far not found contaminated with this substance, he confirmed.
To avoid the tainted pork, consumers should not buy unusually red meats or those with extraordinarily large muscles or with many protruding muscles, medical experts advised.
Safe pork is highly elastic and has identical fibers and natural smell and color, said the National Nutrition Institute.
Pork preserved with urea or borax usually has hard feel while pork tainted with weight-gain drugs is not firm as it contains excessive water, the Institute said.
Consumers should buy pork from prestigious food shops or clean pork put on sale at supermarkets, the Institute advised.
Source: Tuoi Tre