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Pork Tests Confirm Serious Steroid Problem

10 April 2012

VIET NAM - Farming authorities announced last week that many samples taken from pork, pigs and their feed nationwide in Viet Nam tested positive for banned steroids.

The results came from nine Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development laboratories as part of a large-scale investigation following a 29 February Thanh Nien report which said that illegal growth-promoting beta-agonist agents were being used by many pig farmers in Dong Nai Province, a major pig and pork supplier in southern Viet Nam.

According to the ministry, 4.8 per cent of the animal feed samples taken from the southern region showed traces of the agents - ractopamine and salbutamol, as did 11 percent of animal drug samples and 4.4 per cent of pork and pig livers.

“4.4 per cent of pork and livers testing positive for the chemical is serious,” Cao Duc Phat, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at the Thursday meeting.
Beta-agonist agents, popular with body builders, can cause increased heart rates, indigestion and various other harmful side effects.

In northern Viet Nam, more than 150 samples have been taken and the chemical was found in one liver sample in Bac Ninh Province, and two animal feed samples in Hoa Binh and Hai Duong Provinces.

Mr Phat said, “I request related agencies work closely with local governments to continue tracking down the banned substances to determine the persons supplying them.”

Hoang Van Nam, head of the Animal Health Department at the ministry, also said the test figures revealed an alarming situation.

“If we fail to keep up the strong inspections, the situation will become complicated and impossible to control,” Mr Nam said at the meeting.

Investigations since early March have led to two pig farms in Binh Duong Province in the south being fined VND25 million each for using the chemical.

Eleven other farms in Dong Nai await punishment, while animal feed stores known to sell the chemical in the province and elsewhere in the north are being investigated by the police, Duong said.

The National Assembly has demanded that a full report be issued by the ministry on the steroid use in pig breeding by 17 April.

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