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April 1, 2011

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Residents test pork for drug

CITY residents are purchasing clenbuterol detection test papers online and conducting their own experiments in fear of purchasing drug-tainted pork from markets.

However, experts said people lack the proper equipment and knowledge to get accurate results.

The test papers can be found on, a popular e-commerce website, and are being sold from 2 yuan to over 1,000 yuan (US$150) each. The vendors said users could check whether pork contains clenbuterol by doing the experiment. If red lines appear on the paper, it means the pork contains the illegal drug.

Although some vendors said the papers would only be sold to factories or markets equipped with certain instruments for experiments, many individuals purchased dozens of such papers after media reports said pig raisers were giving the animals clenbuterol in order to produce leaner pork, which sells for higher prices.

A Beijing-based vendor surnamed Yang said the company could now sell up to 2,000 test papers every day, instead of several hundred each month before Shuanghui Group, one of China's largest meat processors, was found giving the drug to its pigs.

However, most people can't use the papers properly due to a lack of knowledge and equipment.

Some supermarket assistants have been left shaking their heads when customers wrongly stick the test papers on a piece of pork to see if a red line appears. Others put the paper into a plate of cooked pork.

An expert with the Shanghai Meat Industry Association said both ways are incorrect and will not allow a person to determine whether the pork contains clenbuterol.

The official said detecting clenbuterol is complicated.

However, a technical adviser, surnamed Lin, with the association said there are some easy ways to indicate if pork has been tainted with the drug.

Lin said if the pork is dark red, looks greasy and a yellow liquid comes out when squeezed, then it could contain clenbuterol.


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