SCMP Tuesday, October 10, 2000

Public worried by pig offal scare


People are consuming fewer pig products after 72 people felt ill after eating contaminated pig offal over the past few days, an adviser of the Hong Kong Livestock Association said on Tuesday.
''The public is worried about the quality of pig products and the business of legal farms has been affected, though not very seriously,'' said Chung Kwai-ping.
Representatives from the Association, Food and Environment Hygiene Department and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department met on Tuesday afternoon and determined that the contaminated offal had been smuggled into the territory, probably from illegal slaughterhouses on the mainland and in Hong Kong.
Mr Chung asked different government departments to join in combatting pork and offal smuggling.
Food and Environment Hygiene Department said they are still investigating the source of the contaminated offal and said they would make the result public.
The contamination was caused by clenbuterol, a drug used by asthma patients. Unscrupulous farmers fed the drug to pigs to make them grow faster with more lean meat.
The drug accumulates in the offal of the pigs, and people consuming it might feel faint, nausea and suffer palpitations.
On Tuesday evening, four people were still in hospital suffering the effects of eating contaminated offal.