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February 18, 2012

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Watchdog says lean meat powder was found in beef

FOOD safety watchdogs said yesterday that "lean meat powder" was detected in beef on sale in city supermarkets at the end of last year.

Lean meat powder, the drug clenbuterol, speeds up muscle growth in livestock but is harmful to human health and has been linked to cancer.

The tainted beef was destroyed and its supplier, a non-local company, barred from the local market, Yan Zuqiang, director with Shanghai Food Safety Office, said yesterday.

Food safety officials did not reveal the name of the company involved.

"The brand is no longer allowed to supply any products to Shanghai," Yan said.

"Its hometown authority has also been alerted and is investigating its production chain."

The local watchdog discovered the presence of clenbuterol during a routine inspection, said officials.

A repeat sample test confirmed the result, Yan said. Tainted beef was removed from local shelves and destroyed.

The breeder was arrested.

Clenbuterol can cause dizziness, heart problems and tumors, say experts.

Meanwhile, a traceability system used to monitor pork safety is to be extended to beef and lamb and mutton this year through increased investment in facilities and inspectors, Yan said.

And random quality tests on meat products will become more frequent, he added.

Since January 2011, more than 7,100 local food dealers and producers have had their goods confiscated or had their business licenses suspended for food safety breaches, said local officials.

The city government is encouraging the public to report food safety concerns on its hotline number 12331.


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