New Sunday Times June 16, 2002

CAP finds banned substances in chicken samples

PENANG, Sat. - Cancer-causing growth enhancing drugs nitrofuran and chloramphenicol are still found in chicken meat, the Consumers Association of Penang said today.

CAP president, S.M. Mohamed Idris claimed in a recent test, the association found seven out of 10 chicken meat samples contained bacteria resistant to the two types of drugs.

He said among the seven postive samples, six of them were bought from several wet markets on Penang Island.

The seventh sample was found in a dressed chicken bought in Kuala Lumpur.

"The presence of the bacteria can only be due to the resistance developed by the birds through the regular use of the drugs. These dangerous chemicals are not found naturally in the environment and could have only come from chicken that have been exposed to them in the farms," he said in a statement.

Concerned with the presence of the carcinogenic drugs, banned since 1996, in chicken sold at the local markets, Idris urged the Health Ministry to take immediate steps to check the matter.

"Until the Ministry resolves the matter, it is advisable for the public to refrain from eating chicken," he said.

Under Section 13, of the Food Act (Amendment) 2001, errant chicken farmers face up to 10 years' jail or the maximum RM100,000 fine or both upon conviction.

A spokesman for the Penang Poultry Farmers' Association said none of its 100-odd members were using the two carcinogenic drugs to hasten the growth of chicken.

"We are just as concerned about the public's health," he said.
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