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March 17, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Scare over additives in meat

Most major retailers in Shanghai have stopped selling meat products from the Shuanghui Group, China's largest meat processor, after an illegal additive was found in products by an affiliate of the Henan-based company.

Shares in the Shenzhen-listed Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co under the group were suspended from trading yesterday after dropping by the daily limit of 10 percent the previous day.

China Central Television reported on Tuesday that Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co purchased pig feed containing clenbuterol, a chemical fed to pigs to prevent them accumulating fat.

The chemical is banned as an additive in pig feed in China. Doctors say humans can suffer from nausea, headaches, limb tremors and even cancer after eating food containing the drug.

The Henan Province government yesterday ordered 16 pig farms to halt pig and pork sales and has sealed 13.4 billion tons of pork suspected of being tainted after the Ministry of Agriculture sent a team to Henan to investigate. The province has also destroyed feedstuff suspected of containing the additive.

Officials at animal husbandry bureaus in several cities have been suspended from duty and would face further investigation, according to a report on the People's Daily's website.

The Shuanghui group apologized to customers in a statement and ordered Jiyuan Shuanghui to halt operations.

Li Changqing, general manager of Xinda Husbandry Company, said the case could severely damage the whole industry.

"The clenbuterol case would definitely affect consumers' confidence in purchasing meat products," Li said. "Corrective measures should be introduced immediately to avoid consequences like those that damaged the dairy industry following the melamine scandal."

Major retailers in Shanghai, including NGS, Metro and Lotus have suspended sales of Shuanghui products, while Wal-mart and Carrefour said they had never sold products from the factory in question but would keep other Shuanghui products on the shelf until further notice.

Many convenience stores have also removed Shuanghui products.

So far, investigations have found no tainted products in Shanghai.


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