Farmers in East China's Shandong  province have been illegally adding the chemical clenbuterol to their sheep feed to produce leaner meat, according to reports.

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The tainted sheep have been sold to buyers in 17 municipalities and provinces, including Beijing, Henan and Jiangsu. An investigation into the breeders has been launched, said Ge Huaizhou, deputy chief of the animal husbandry bureau of Lijin county.