News last update:6 Aug 2012

Malaysia bans imported feed with beta-agonist

The Malaysian Health Ministry has sought the help of the customs department to ban the import of animal feed containing beta-agonist, a growth agent used by farmers to feed to their pigs.

Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the customs department had in principle agreed to classify the import of products containing beta-agonist under the Customs (Prohibition of Import) Order 1988 and under the Customs Act 1967.

"When the substance is banned by customs, breeders who want to import it must get permission from the pharmacies which will not be given anyway," the Minister said.

Chua said pig breeders would be signing "akujanji" (letter of understanding) before the Chinese New Year to declare that their farms would be free from beta-agonist, an enhancement agent that can cause cancer, increase heartbeat rate and even cause death in advance heart disease.

He said the letter of understanding was one of the conditions enforced by the Veterinary Services Department to compel breeders not to use the banned substance and they had agreed to comply with the requirement within this week.

"All 656 pig breeders in the country have agreed to sign the "akujanji" which will enable monitoring and enforcement to be done effectively," he said.

Beta-agonist was brought into the country through illegal means as the country's Poison Act does not allow the import of such agent in whatever form.

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