Clenbuterol in Pork Production

Clenbuterol is a drug that has been used for various purposes, such as treating asthma, enhancing athletic performance, and promoting weight loss. However, it also has some serious side effects, such as tremors, seizures, and heart problems [1]. That is why clenbuterol is banned in many countries, including the U.S., Canada, and the European Union.

Clenbuterol in Pork Production

But did you know that clenbuterol can also be found in pork products? In some countries, such as China, Mexico, and Guatemala, this substance is illegally used as a growth promoter in pigs, to increase their muscle mass and reduce their fat content. This practice not only poses a risk to animal welfare but also to human health and fair competition.

In fact, in a recent news report, it was revealed that Mexican authorities had rejected two shipments of pork from a North Carolina slaughterhouse owned by Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer because they were contaminated with clenbuterol [3]. The report also stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had failed to detect the drug in its inspection and testing procedures [3].

The dangers of Clenbuterol in pork products

This incident raises some important questions about clenbuterol in pork production. Here are some of the most common ones:

Can people use this substance in food animals?

No, they cannot. Clenbuterol is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [4] or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) [5] for use in food animals. It is also prohibited by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) [6], which sets international standards for animal health and food safety.

Can clenbuterol be in meat?

Yes, it can. This substance can be transferred from animals to meat products through their tissues and fluids. The amount of it in meat depends on several factors, such as the dose, duration, and route of administration of the drug to the animals, as well as the type, cut, and cooking method of the meat.

How long is CLEN detectable?

Clenbuterol can be detected in animal tissues and fluids for several days or weeks after exposure. It can also be detected in human urine for up to 7 – 10 days after ingestion of contaminated meat [7].

Is clenbuterol tested for in drug testing?

Yes, it is. This substance is tested for in both animal and human drug testing programs.

Why is clenbuterol not FDA-approved?

This substance is not FDA-approved because it has not been proven to be safe and effective for any use in food animals. Moreover, it poses a potential risk to human health when consumed through meat products because it can cause adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache, and more. In severe cases, it can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, stroke, and death [1].

Why is this substance banned in food animals?

Clenbuterol is banned in food animals because it violates the principles of animal welfare and fair competition. It can cause stress to animals when administered at high doses or for long periods.

Is clenbuterol illegal to possess?

It depends on the country and the purpose. In some countries, such as the U.S., Canada, and the European Union, this substance is illegal to possess without a prescription or veterinary authorization. In other countries, such as China and Mexico, it may be legal to possess for medical or veterinary purposes, but illegal to use for food animal production.

What organs does clenbuterol affect?

This substance affects mainly the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system. It stimulates the beta-2 receptors in these organs, causing them to relax and dilate [1]. This results in increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles and organs. However, this also increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate, which can overload the heart and lungs and cause damage or failure [1].

As you can see, clenbuterol in pork production is a serious issue that affects not only the animals, but also the consumers, the producers, and the regulators. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness and take action to prevent and combat this illegal and unethical practice.

At Artron, we value the safety of the consumers, that’s why we have developed the Clenbuterol Test, which is available in both strips and cassettes. These rapid tests are easy to use by professionals and have a high sensitivity of 3 ppb (3 ng/mL).

If you have any questions about food safety and the clenbuterol test, feel free to contact our representatives at



[1] Seymour, T. (2023, August 15). What is clenbuterol?

[2] Horwath, H., & Horwath, H. (2021b, November 19). Clenbuterol and meat contamination in Anti-Doping | USADA. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

[3] Carman, T. (2023, July 21). Illegal muscle-building drug found in some U.S. pork exports. Washington Post.

[4] What you need to know about Clenbuterol for bodybuilding. (2021, June 17). WebMD.

[5] Chai, C., & Leffler, B. (2014, March). Tainted meat: Banned veterinary drugs found in horse meat.

[6] Veterinary Drug Detail | CODEXALIMENTARIUS FAO-WHO. (n.d.).

[7] Solheim, S. A., Jessen, S., Mørkeberg, J., Thevis, M., Dehnes, Y., Eibye, K., Hostrup, M., & Nordsborg, N. B. (2020). Single‐dose administration of clenbuterol is detectable in dried blood spots. Drug Testing and Analysis, 12(9), 1366–1372.

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