Sun, Aug 05, 2007 - Page 2 News List

DOH collects organ samples from pigs for drug testing

STAFF WRITER

Amid growing concerns over a banned veterinary drug that is used to cause pigs to gain lean weight, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday that local health officials have collected 40 samples of pig organs from traditional markets and that test results are expected by the end of the month.

Two shipments of imported US pork were found to contain ractopamine hydrochloride, also known by the brand name Paylean, which prompted the DOH's Bureau of Food Safety to instruct local health officials on July 20 to collect pork samples for testing.

Samples

The DOH demanded a further 40 pig organ samples on Tuesday.

The bureau completed tests on the first 43 samples and announced last Sunday that three of them contained Paylean.

Cheng Huei-wen (鄭慧文), director-general of the bureau, said the residual levels of Paylean in the three samples were relatively low and that there was no need for alarm.

Paylean

Paylean is listed by the Council of Agriculture as a banned veterinary drug, but it is legal to use in the US and some other countries.

Cheng also said that if Paylean is used while pigs are young, the residue of the drug in pig organs would be many times higher than normal levels found in pork.

But as organs usually require more elaborate processing before testing than meat, the results will not be known until the end of the month, Cheng said.

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