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China: 70 ill from tainted pig organs

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  • Xinhua: Victims complained of stomach aches and diarrhea after eating pig organs
  • Clenbuterol can prevent pigs from accumulating fat but is harmful to people
  • Report: 336 hospitalized in 2006 after eating clenbuterol-tainted pig meat, organs
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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- At least 70 people in one Chinese province have suffered food poisoning in recent days after eating pig organs contaminated by a banned food additive, state-run media reported Monday.

Health officials in the Guangdong province in southeast China said most were treated at hospitals and released, but at least three people remained hospitalized, the China Daily newspaper reported.

The victims complained of stomach aches and diarrhea after eating pig organs bought in local markets since Thursday, China's Xinhua news agency reported. A local health official said initial investigations indicated that the pig organs were contaminated by clenbuterol, an additive that is banned in pig feed in China.

Three people were detained for suspected involvement in raising and selling contaminated pigs, authorities said.

Clenbuterol can prevent pigs from accumulating fat but is harmful to humans and can be fatal. One of the largest food poisoning cases involving clenbuterol happened in Shanghai in September 2006, when 336 people were hospitalized after eating pig meat or organs contaminated with the additive, China Daily said.

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