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Urine samples from imported pigs detected with veterinary drug residues
    The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) yesterday (August 5) said that urine samples of certain pigs imported from the Mainland were found to contain veterinary drug residues after preliminary testing, of which 40 pigs had been slaughtered in Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse and distributed to the local market. The FEHD has followed up with the operator of slaughterhouse, Ng Fung Hong, to trace the distribution of the affected pigs and has demanded the retail outlets concerned to stop selling the affected product.

    A spokesman for the FEHD said, "Among a total of 319 pigs supplied from two Mainland farms, the preliminary test results of some of their urine samples were found to contain residues of beta-agonists (Clenbuterol/Salbutamol). Forty affected pigs have been distributed to the market. The FEHD immediately followed up with Ng Fung Hong and according to its information, the 40 pigs have been distributed to 27 retail outlets (at Annex). FEHD health inspectors have visited the retail outlets concerned to mark and seal the affected pigs."

    The spokesman noted that beta-agonists are synthetic substances which can increase muscle to fat ratio. They can also be used as a growth promoter to produce lean carcass, and therefore commonly referred to as "lean meat agents". Clenbuterol and Salbutamol, the two most common beta-agonists, are not allowed to be used in food animals in Hong Kong. People who have consumed meat (especially contaminated offal) containing excessive amount of beta-agonist residues may experience symptoms including rapid heart rates, dizziness, headaches, tremors and nervousness. The symptoms will appear from 10 minutes to three hours after consumption of the contaminated food and will disappear within 24 hours in general.

    For the sake of prudence, the spokesman urged the public to stop consuming the pork and pig offal bought from the affected retail outlets yesterday. Medical advice should be sought if they feel sick after consumption.

    "The FEHD will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the case and review, including examining the entire testing and slaughtering procedures. The FEHD has also immediately strengthened its surveillance, including enhancing monitoring of food animals admitted to slaughterhouses and taking samples for testing," the spokesman said.

    The spokesman has stressed that the retail outlets concerned have sold the affected pigs under an uninformed condition. The FEHD will exercise stringent control to ensure all pork and offal sold at any retail outlets are fit for human consumption.

    According to the preliminary information, the two affected batches of pigs came from two registered Mainland farms. The FEHD has informed the relevant Mainland authorities for appropriate follow-up action.

    Around 1.6 million local and imported live pigs are slaughtered in Hong Kong annually. The last time that beta-agonist residue was detected in urine samples of live pigs was in 2012.

    If the final test results of the Government Laboratory confirmed that the affected pigs contain veterinary drug residues, all the affected pigs and meat which have been marked and sealed will be disposed of.
Ends/Saturday, August 6, 2016
Issued at HKT 0:30
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