S Korea on Alert over Residues in Duck Meat

SOUTH KOREA - The import of heat-processed duck meat from China has been suspended after low levels of the antibiotic, chloramphenicol, were discovered in one consignment.
calendar icon 26 May 2009
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Import of Chinese heat-processed duck meat has been suspended after the discovery of a antimicrobial substance that can cause a fatal condition known as aplastic anaemia in humans, the government said yesterday, reports Yonhap.

The National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS) said it found 1.0 parts per billion of Chloramphenicol in a 3.8 ton shipment of meat from a Chinese meat exporter.

It said the ban will be imposed until Henan Huangchuan Huaying Poultry Corporation-Meat Products Co. can determine the exact cause of the contamination and ensure that tainted meat is not shipped to South Korea in the future.

Because the meat packer is the only company that ships heat-processed duck meat to South Korea, the ban will effectively halt all imports of the product. The company shipped 363 tons worth of duck meat this year.

NVRQS added that for products that are already in transit, no quarantine inspections will be carried out, while the 190 tons that are held in customs must undergo detailed examinations to check for any traces of the drug.

Chloramphenicol is used to treat human patients but has been banned from livestock use since 1991 because it can cause aplastic anaemia and childhood leukaemia on rare occasions, according to Yonhap. Aplastic anaemia is a condition that occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. There is no known cure for the condition. It is almost always fatal and can affect people weeks and months after having been exposed to the drug.

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