Illegal use of “lean meat powder,” a banned drug in animal feed, is widespread in China. Lean meat powder inhibits the growth of fat in farm animals, thus making the meat more attractive looking and better tasting, but poisonous to humans.
Mutton fed with lean meat powder from a well-known lamb producer in Yanwo Township of Shandong Province has been found in 17 Chinese provinces.
In March, lean meat powder was detected in 198 sheep from Qingyue County, Shandong Province. In late September, eight more sheep farms were found using lean meat powder in Lijin County, Shandong Province.
Lean meat powder is a chemical that belongs to the family of adrenal gland nerve system stimulants. Human consumption of such stimulants leads to dizziness, upset stomach, lethargy, and trembling hands. It is especially dangerous to people with heart disease and high blood pressure. Long-term consumption may also cause chromosome abnormality.
Many villagers in Yanwo Township make a living raising sheep. Farms raise anywhere from several hundred sheep to as many as tens of thousands.
A villager from Xihou Village, who did not want to give his name, told The Epoch Times several sheep farms were punished for using lean meat powder late last year when the news was made public.
“It badly hurt the income of the entire village, but now the condition is a little better, and about 90 percent of the farms are okay,” he said.
Sheep given lean meat powder produce 3 -- 4 lb. more lean meat, and the meat looks more attractive and tastes better, he said.
An employee at the Yanwo Township Credit Union, who also declined to give his name, said he only buys free-range baby goats from the farmers. He would not buy the sheep from the barn. He said even though each batch of meat is [going through] inspection, it is very likely that some is not inspected.
In an Oct. 26 report, Beijing News said that mutton products from over 1,000 farmers in Yanwo Township are shipped to 17 provinces and cities in China, including Beijing, Henan, Jiangsu, Liaoning, and Tianjin. Many employees at No. 1 Lubei Meat Market in Yanwo Township stated that around Sept. 26, four batches of about 1,000 sheep each had not passed inspection. By end of September, at least eight batches failed inspection and were returned.
To avoid detection, farmers have been found meddling with the inspections.Sheep farmer Liu Quan admitted to using lean meat powder and fooling inspectors. He said out of hundreds of sheep, he marked six and stopped giving them lean meat powder about 20 days before the inspection. During the inspection, these six sheep were used to supply urine tests, and when they passed, the rest of the sheep also passed.
After that, he would rent out these six sheep to other farmers at 1,000 yuan (US$158) per inspection and thus earn an extra 6,000 to 7,000 yuan, Liu said.
Sun Changjie, another farmer, told Beijing News that he spent 3,000 yuan on lean meat powder tablets. He said he knows at least 10 lean meat powder dealers. One of them is a friend of his, who assured him that there would not be any shortage of lean meat powder in Yanwo Township.