Police in Dong Nai Province on Friday confirmed that a banned substance has been used by the local pig breeding industry.
The result was announced almost a month after public concern was raised about pork quality following a Thanh Nien investigative report published on February 28 that said that livestock farmers in Dong Nai, a major pork and pig supplier to Ho Chi Minh City, were drugging their pigs with steroids containing beta-agonist growth promoting agent.
Dong Nai police have confirmed the media report after finding traces of the agent ractopamine and salbutamol among animal feeds sold at the Dinh Duong Vang (Gold Nutrition) Company in the province.
The agent, popular with bodybuilders, is banned in livestock breeding. In humans, it causes increased heart rate, indigestion and various other conditions, according to experts.
The Dong Nai Market Management has suspended the company's operations.
The province's Animal Health Department has also blacklisted 24 pig breeding households after tests found the chemical in their products.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on March 16 ordered Dong Nai to investigate use of chemicals in local animal husbandry so that consumers could avoid dangerous products and clean farmers are not hurt by consumer fear.
Since the news of steroid use broke, pork consumption in HCMC has dropped by between 40-60 percent, though vendors have offered reduced prices.
Vietnam does not allow the use of growth hormones in animal husbandry.
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