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Hippocrates,the father of medicine
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chinese firm recalls tainted luncheon meat

SHANGHAI, April 23, 2009 (AFP) - A major Chinese meat processor has recalled 100 boxes of luncheon meat containing a banned chemical, Chinese media reported Thursday.

China Yurun Food Group destroyed the products, made of unspecified minced meat from a Chinese slaughterhouse, the National Business Daily said, citing the provincial quality watchdog and an unnamed Yurun official.

An official with Yurun's public relations agency declined to comment when contacted by AFP, saying only that the Hong Kong-listed company would be issuing a statement.

The meat was contaminated with clenbuterol, a drug often given to people to treat asthma, but also commonly used to cut body fat.

Farmers in China have been known to feed pigs clenbuterol to reduce their fat, but it is banned as a food additive because it can be fatal to humans. State media reported in March that police in China arrested nine people for selling pigs that were fed the chemical, after at least 70 people fell ill.

One of the worst cases involving clenbuterol occurred in Shanghai in 2006 when 336 people were hospitalised after eating pig meat or organs contaminated with the drug, state media reports have said.

The reputation of China's poorly regulated and corruption-plagued food industry has taken repeated hits in recent years, with people dying from eating tainted products at home and contaminated exports being found overseas.

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