Health Ministry downplays CF's ractopamine concern
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) yesterday said that the Consumers' Foundation (CF) has misinterpreted a study by suggest that a chemical found in meat leanness-enhancing agents will increase breast cancer recurrence and metastasis rates.
September 6, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
The CF yesterday announced that it found the leaning agent drug ractopamine in a U.S. beef sample taken during a random July check of meat products sold in retail outlets nationwide.
The sample, taken from frozen U.S. beef from a supermarket in Taipei's Wanhua District, was found to have a ractopamine residual level between 0.001 parts per million and 0.002 ppm. While the ractopamine residue level in the sample is within the legal limit of 0.01 ppm, the MOHW's Food and Drug Administration should still establish ractopamine standards for all beef and pork products as well as clearer labeling regime, said CF Chairman Mark Chang (張智剛).
The CF called on the government to set ractopamine residue limits for products beyond muscle meat to include other parts such as level, kidney and fat.
The foundation cited a 2010 joint study by scholars at the University of Nottingham, University of Witten/Herdecke and the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre that shows beta-blocker (adrenergic beta-antagonist) drugs such as propranolol can effectively reduce cancer recurrence and spread rate. Following 466 consecutive female patients (median age 57, range 28-71) with operable breast cancer for over 10 years, the study showed the beta-blockers reduce the risk of metastasis by 57 percent and breast cancer mortality after 10 years by 71 percent. Both figures were cited by the CF yesterday. ractopamine is a beta-adrenergic agonist, the opposite of a beta-blocker, the CF said.
Psychiatrist and a CF official Su Wei-shuo admitted that the study offered no conclusion that intake of beta agonist such as ractopamine will lead to cancer metastasis rate, but claimed that such a possibility “can be inferred.”
In response to the CF's report, Food and Drug Administration Deputy Director-General Hsu Ming-neng (許銘能) said that while beta-blockers can reduce breast cancer recurrence and metastasis rates, the theory that beta-agonists will increase these risks has not been established. Nevertheless, the MOHW will further evaluate the need to better label ractopamine residue levels in meat products, Hsu said.
The CF sampled 17 products from pork, as well as seven from beef, three from duck meat and three from goose meat products in its July test.
Meat product samples collected by the Consumers' Foundation in a random ractopamine residue level test in July are displayed in Taipei, yesterday. The foundation found one sample ...