China names suppliers of drug-tainted meat

By Mark Godfrey

- Last updated on GMT

Ractopamine is used to treat EU livestock, but China has a zero tolerance policy to the drug
Ractopamine is used to treat EU livestock, but China has a zero tolerance policy to the drug

Related tags Livestock Beef Pork Poultry

WalMart and Tesco are among retailers named by China’s food safety watchdog as inadvertent suppliers of drug-tainted meat in a spot check of products for detected animal medication residues beyond permitted limits.

In a statement posted on its website the China Food and Drug Administration explains “a sampling of 420 batches of pork, chicken and poultry offal samples showed up 11 batches of substandard samples”​. Tests were carried out during the first half of this year.

The samples appear to have been collected at supermarkets and wet markets around China: WalMart and Tesco outlets are listed in spreadsheets from the CFDA containing details of the various samples which exceeded allowable veterinary residues. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by either retailer.

The CFDA tested 192 batches of pork and 147 batches of poultry meat and 48 batches of offal –most of it poultry. A list of over 20 veterinary drugs cited includes enrofloxacin, clenbuterol, salbutamol, ractopamine.

Six batches of poultry that failed the tests had excessive residues of the drugs furazolidone metabolite, furaltadone metabolites, sulfonamides and chloramphenicol, according to the CFDA.

Failed samples

Among the meat processors and retailers with failed samples are Harbin Dajiang Food Co whose pork loin was tested.

Beijing Sen Shun Heng Fa Trading Co saw detection of veterinary drug salbutamol in samples tested at a WalMart outlet in the northerly city of Harbin.

The list also includes two major pork players in the central province of Henan, a hub for pork processors: Xu Changxin Meat Processing Co and, in Zhengzhou, Chuying Animal Husbandry Trade Co.

In southwestern China pork processed by Chengdu Wu Tian Food Co., Ltd was found to have excessive enrofloxacin.

On the southeast coast, a meat shop in the Nan Hu Agricultural Products Market in Fuzhou city was found to be selling chicken with excessive residues of furazolidone metabolite.


Similar residues were found at the Guan Du wet market in the huge city of Zhengzhou, central China. In Henan, a Tesco convenience store in Dongcheng district of Xuchang city was found to be selling poultry meat with excessive furaltadone metabolites residues. No supplier is listed for the poultry.

The tests were done according to the ‘People's Republic of China Food Safety Law’ in five populous regions across China: Beijing, Heilongjiang, Fujian, Henan, Sichuan.

Firms have been ordered by the CFDA to “take products off the shelf in a timely manner and to issue recalls”​. Rectification needs to be complete by August 20 by which date the firms have to report how they’ve “checked all production batches and put measures in place to prevent any recurrence…”

The CFDA also lists five “large-scale” ​meat firms whose products passed the tests, among them Qingdao Wanfu Group Co., Ltd and Beijing Dafa Chia Tai Co (part of the CP conglomerate).

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) was founded in 2013 to replace the former State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and elevated to a ministerial-level agency under the State Council, China’s cabinet.

The CFDA was intended to replace a set of overlapping regulators with an entity similar to the US Food and Drug Administration. The boss of the SFDA was jailed in 2007 for bribery on food licensing issues. Authorities have since then attempted to restore consumers’ confidence in Chinese food products.

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