News last update:6 Aug 2012

Illegal use of beta-agonist in pig feed

Many Malasian pig farmers are suspected of using the banned drug beta-agonist in their pig feed. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek therefore urged consumers to be patient until the authorities complete their checks on pig farmers and pork sellers.

Beta agonist is used to force pigs to mature faster with a higher amount of lean meat, but it can cause palpitation, headaches and even death, especially in heart patients. He said farmers were suspected of feeding pigs with beta-agonist for speedy growth to cash in on the high pork prices.

Extra inspection

Dr Chua said farmers would now be required to sign an undertaking in front of a commissioner for oaths when they wanted to renew their annual licence that their livestock would not be fed beta-agonist. "If the authorities find beta-agonist in the pigs, the farmer will first be given a stern warning," he added.

"But if the farmer repeats the offence, his pigs will be quarantined for a month so that they are not sold, exported or slaughtered illegally. If the farmer commits the offence for the third time, his farm will be closed." Dr Chua also said animal feed containing beta-agonist would be listed under restricted orders. This means the feed can be inspected.
Chua said that the ministry had not found any pharmacist selling beta-agonist and he therefore suspects that the beta-agonist are smuggled in from neighbouring countries.

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