The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday called for the mandatory labeling of beef products containing ractopamine, based on what it described as “an inference” that the drug “might worsen cancer.”
The group based its claim on its interpretation of a study that tracked 500 breast cancer patients over a decade and found that the risk of cancer spreading and death were reduced significantly in patients taking a ractopamine blocker, said Su Wei-shuo (蘇偉碩), a psychiatrist and a foundation official.
The study, by researchers from Nottingham Trent University in the UK and Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, found chances of cancer spreading were down 57 percent and the 10-year death rate fell 72 percent in breast cancer patients treated with a ractopamine blocker.
While the study did not conclude that ractopamine could cause cancer to spread, Su said such a possibility “can be inferred.”
Moreover, separate experiments have shown that cancer-infected mice injected with ractopamine see their cancer spread showed an increase 30 times greater than their counterparts that were not given the drug, Su said.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare questioned the foundation’s claim, but said it would collect more information.