PETA Uncovers Federal Records Showing Clenbuterol Found in U.S. Pork

Published by .
3 min read

PETA just received bombshell records that we had requested from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and what they reveal is alarming. Meat from the world’s largest pork producers—Virginia-based Smithfield Foods and Swift Pork Company (which is owned by the infamous JBS Foods)—tested positive for clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that’s frequently misused by bodybuilders and athletes for its steroid-like effects. Although the drug promotes muscle mass, it also causes cardiac problems, tremors, and even death in humans, which is why it’s banned for human use in the U.S.

So how did clenbuterol end up in meat? Following an investigation, Swift’s best guess is that pigs from fairs or shows may have been fed clenbuterol and mixed in with the company’s “market” hogs, which is illegal since the U.S. only permits the drug for veterinary use in horses. USDA records note that Smithfield management was “unable to provide any monitoring records” to show that the animals they receive are clenbuterol-free. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence!

History of Clenbuterol Poisonings

In 2022, hundreds of people in the Mexican state of Yucatán were thought to have fallen ill after ingesting meat from animals who had been raised with clenbuterol, and in 2011, clenbuterol-tainted meat from Shuanghui (now WH Group, Smithfield’s current owner) sickened 1,700 people and killed one in China. Clenbuterol-tainted meat has also caused false positives on athletes’ drug tests, as the substance is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Contaminated Meat Isn’t Rare—Finding Out About It Is

Every year in the U.S., there are 48 million cases of food poisoning, and 5,000 of those cases are fatal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that 70% of food poisoning is caused by contaminated animal flesh. Smithfield’s Tar Heel plant (one of the two facilities implicated in this drug contamination) is notorious for its recent history of stomach-turning sanitation violations.

Tainted meat results from the misery inflicted on our fellow animals in order to eat their flesh: Over 99% of animals used for food live on massive industrial factory farms, where they’re crammed by the thousands into wire cages, metal crates, or other extremely restrictive enclosures inside filthy, windowless sheds. The drugs farmers use to keep animals alive and growing in these horrible, unnatural conditions—including clenbuterol—are administered in large quantities and accumulate in the animals’ bodies. “Organic,” “grass-fed,” “hormone-free,” and other labels are essentially meaningless for the animals’ experience—they’re still kept in a state of perpetual suffering. All farms—and everywhere else animals are treated as disposable machines—are riddled with bacteria and contaminants that cause illness, which end up on supermarket shelves in the corpses sold as food.

Don’t Eat Poison—Go Vegan!

An illegal and dangerous drug in the supply chain of the world’s largest pork producers is one more reason to stop eating animals. The best way to protect yourself from all the harmful contaminants in animal flesh—and to protect animals from the horrors of being farmed—is simply to go vegan. It’s easier than you might think. Order a free vegan starter kit today:

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.