Skinny Pigs, Poison Pork: China Battles Farm Drugs

Another is coming to light in China: the use of Clenbuterol, a dangerous drug, in the farming of meat of all kinds throughout China. From the New York Times:

Clenbuterol, known in China simply as "lean meat powder," is a dangerous drug that's banned in China yet stubbornly continues to pop up in the food supply, laced into animal feed by farmers impatient to get their meat to market and turn a profit.

The drug accelerates fat burning and muscle growth, making it an attractive feed additive, sports performance enhancer and slimming drug, but overdoses can cause illness and, in rare cases, death. Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is among the athletes, who have tested positive for the drug, though he disputes the results, claiming he unknowingly ingested the drug by eating tainted filet mignon.

How much of China's meat supply is tainted with clenbuterol is not clear. The government won't say how many cases of contaminated meat or related illness occur every year. But industry watchers say that, in the countryside at least, use of the drug is rampant.

In a country with an appetite-killing roster of food safety issues - from deadly infant formula to honey laced with dangerous antimicrobials and eggs dyed with cancer-causing pigments - the problem of clenbuterol-tainted pork is widely considered to be one of China's biggest food threats.

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