Health agency launches hunt for deadly ‘beef” extract

Published: 25/04/2011 05:00



Authorities have launched market
inspections in four major cities to look for a dangerous extract that changes
the appearance and taste of pork into beef.

This bottle contains a kind of
additive that can change the taste of pork into beef. It is sold for VND350,000
(US$15) in a shop in Hang Buom Street in Ha Noi. (Photo: VNS)

The inspections
follow reports that the additive has been found in many cities in China and that
long term use can lead to poisoning and even cancer.

Nguyen Cong Khan,
head of the Food Hygiene and Safety Department under the Ministry of Health,
said last week the department was focusing on Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, and
HCM City.

It has instructed
local inspectors to take random samples of additives in the market to carry out

“The results will be
broadcast widely in the media,” Khan said.

Similar additives are
reported to have been found in some markets in Ha Noi, such as Hom market in Hai
Ba Trung District and retail shops in Hang Buom street in Hoan Kiem District.

“You just need two to
three drops of this liquid additive to make one kilogramme of pork taste like
beef,” the owner of an additive shop in Hang Buom street said.

“Owners of
restaurants are my major customers,” she said, adding that each kilogramme of
additive cost VND350,000 (US$17.50).

The products have
foreign labels, but have yet received no cooking safety and hygiene certification
from authorised agencies.

According to China’s
Anhui Daily Press Group, a kidney specialist in Anhui Province warned last week
that consuming the beef extract for a long period of time might lead to chronic
poisoning, deformities or cancer.

Khan said the
department was already collaborating with relevant local agencies to carry out
regular inspections of food additives nationwide. It has, since early this year,
found and destroyed several additives for not meeting food and hygiene

He said the
inspections had to be carried out regularly on the large number of food
additives, estimated at 7,000, being sold in the market.

There have been
several reports about rare additives and foodstuffs, including fake eggs, Khan
said, adding that these had not so far been found in the country.

“The department will
also focus on inspecting the quality of processed food and food using additives
that people are worried about the most,” Khan added.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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