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August 27, 1997

Food Poisoning Following Consumption of Clenbuterol-Treated Veal in Italy-Reply

Author Affiliations

Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine Rockville, Md

JAMA. 1997;278(8):635. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550080045032

This episode of food poisoning by clenbuterol residues in veal in Italy is unusual in that clinical symptoms appeared after consumption of nonorgan meat during a meal (approximately 100 g). Clenbuterol residues concentrate in the liver of animals fed the β-agonist, and most previous reported poisoning episodes in Europe have been associated with consumption of beef liver.1-4

Clenbuterol is not approved in the United States for use in food-producing animals. However, in June 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) together with the US Customs Service, the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Department of Justice, successfully prosecuted the Vitek Supply Corporation on 12 felony counts stemming from a scheme to smuggle and distribute unapproved animal drugs for use in veal calves in the United States.5 The unapproved drugs included clenbuterol. The FDA also has undertaken several efforts to prevent the illegal use of clenbuterol to increase