Leanness-enhancing Agents


           Leanness-enhancing agents are recently reported to have been used by some pig farmers in mainland and have raised public concern.


What are leanness-enhancing agents?

Leanness-enhancing agent is the generic term to several veterinary drugs, such as Ractopamine and Clenbuterol, which are used to promote leanness in animal’s body.


Why are leanness-enhancing agents used in animal feeds?

Pig farmers use leanness-enhancing agents in feed primarily to promote muscle leanness and breeding efficiency. So, the pork could be ready for sale earlier, thus lowering cost and increasing profit.


Is it legitimate to use leanness-enhancing agents in all countries?

Leanness-enhancing agents, including Ractopamine, are prohibited drugs in animal raising in China, the EU countries and Taiwan. But in some countries, including the United States and Japan, Ractopamine is permitted due to its high metabolic rate.


Hazards of leanness-enhancing agents to human health

Consumption of meat containing leanness-enhancing agents may pose threats to human health, such as dizziness, nausea and peripheral weakness, and may especially expose patients with heart disease or high blood pressure to risks. Consumption on a long-term basis may induce malignant tumors.


How are leanness-enhancing agent residues in food monitored in Macao?

All imported pigs will undergo antemortem inspection at Macao Slaughterhouse. Samples of pork and pig’s offal will be taken for specific chemical residue testing to ensure that all pork available for sale on the market are safe for consumption.


Safety tips to the public

1.         Purchase fresh and wholesome pork from reliable shops;

2.         Do not purchase pork which has not been quarantined from unlicensed hawkers.