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All you ever wanted to know about… gallstones

by Jon Condon, 29 May 2015
82

MONDAY’s article about charges being laid against an employee at a southeast Queensland abattoir over the theft of gallstones (click here to view original story) has aroused considerable interest among readers.

What are they? What are they worth? What are they used for? Who owns them?

GallstonesBeef Central has done some digging into the topic and found a few answers.

This reporter has distinct memories as a youngster back in the days of the Katherine meatworks in the Northern Territory in the 1970s, where a quaint little old Chinese gent would show up at the plant once or twice a year with a set of ornate jeweller’s scales. He would buy gallstones collected through the year by meatworkers, mostly kept in a Log Cabin tin in their back pocket. Even then, the stones seemed to be worth a whole lot of money.

The sole purpose for gallstones is in Asian alternate medicines.

One of the responses seen on social media since Monday’s gallstone theft report, which suggested gallstones can be worth up to $20,000 a kilogram, has been that processors must be making a fortune from them, at beef producers’ expense.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, they are extremely rare. Think oysters: you’ve got to open an awful lot of oysters to find just one natural (i.e. non-cultured) pearl. It’s the same with gallstones.

The Australian cattle industry’s entire production of gallstones each year amounts to about 200kg, one of the country’s largest dealers in the commodity says. The world leader is Brazil, which manages to produce just 1500kg each year.

Gallstones can form in the gall bladder of cattle, and are retrieved at the abattoir during the bile extraction process on the eviscera table.

They are most commonly found in older slaughter animals – cows and bulls – but their presence, frequency and quality can be influenced by a wide range of factors, such as access to bore water, for example. Plants killing young yearling type cattle, like Nolans at Gympie, find very few, and those that are found are only pea-sized examples.

One source suggested that Lakes Creek in Rockhampton – arguably representing the largest weekly cow kill in Australia – probably produces more gallstones than any other Australian plant. But even at Lakes Creek, the presence of gallstones is known to be ‘very, very low’ relative to the number of cattle killed.

So is there a fortune being made by meat processing plants in harvesting the objects from slaughter cattle?

Monday’s article quoting prices as high as $20,000 per kilogram failed to point out that that is the ‘peak cycle’ retail price, in a glass jar in a Chinese medicine store somewhere in Asia.

Brokers in Australia were reluctant to share their pricing details on what the stones are worth at purchase at the plant, but said it was nothing like that. And prices vary dramatically, depending on quality, shape, size and other parameters.

“They’re like diamonds. You can get a one carat diamond that can be worth $1000 or ten times as much,” said broker Jenny Murtagh, from Sunshine Trading, who deals with many of Australia’s larger meat processors.

Another point is that the ‘stones’ are surprisingly light in weight. Despite looking like river pebbles in the photo published here, they weigh more like a feather.

“They are 75 percent water when first retrieved, and lose a lot of that weight when they dry out,” Mrs Murtagh said.

Despite all that, most, if not all substantial Australian abattoirs collected gall stones, because they did have a value.

“But it would only make up a tiny fraction of the revenue generated from each animal,” she said. “And the price paid in Asia fluctuates quite dramatically.”

Mrs Murtagh agreed with Beef Central’s suggestion that the question of ‘ownership’ of gall stones harvested at meatworks appeared to have changed over the years.

“Thirty years ago they used to be kept mostly by the ‘fronter’ on the kill floor – the guy with the toughest job on the floor,” she said.

“But then the price started to rise, and the abattoirs themselves knew that they were losing money by not claiming them as part of the animal by-product stream. But some abattoirs still take the money from the gallstone salvage and divide it among the workers, perhaps towards the Christmas party,” she said. “Historically, there has been a tradition of sharing that value with the kill floor staff.”

“But processors certainly are not making any significant amount of money from gallstones, in my opinion, despite what people might have thought. These days, the processor is intent on making money out of every last item on that beast, whether it be foetal blood, bile, or gall stones. They’d be crazy if they didn’t.”

 



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Reader's Comments


Comment
  • Kel Sorensen May 29, 2015

    Apart from bore water, what causes Gallstones ?

    It’s part of the body’s way of processing unwanted salts and trace minerals from the food and water that’s consumed. Here’s what Wikipidia says:
    Cholesterol gallstones develop when bile contains too much cholesterol and not enough bile salts. Besides a high concentration of cholesterol, two other factors are important in causing gallstones. The first is how often and how well the gallbladder contracts; incomplete and infrequent emptying of the gallbladder may cause the bile to become over-concentrated and contribute to gallstone formation. This can be caused by high resistance to the flow of bile out of the gallbladder due to the complicated internal geometry of the cystic duct. The second factor is the presence of proteins in the liver and bile that either promote or inhibit cholesterol crystallisation into gallstones. In addition, increased levels of the hormone estrogen, as a result of pregnancy, may increase cholesterol levels in bile and also decrease gallbladder movement, resulting in gallstone formation.

  • Funky Monkey June 3, 2015

    Interesting I’ve always wondered what they were used for.

  • Akbar pabani December 27, 2015

    Want to know about more suppliers of gallastone in south Australia and rest ok Australia

  • Adele Nurudeen July 15, 2016

    Dear sir, I work in abattoir here in Nigeria always found cow gallstone in different size kindly link me with any interested and serious buyer, can contact me thru my email above or phone no thanks. Nurudeen Adenle +234-8033525617.

  • Steven Paul Mwashambo January 13, 2017

    Am a Tanzanian at Southern Highland of Tanzania I have gm of gallstones how can I sell it or help me by giving direction.

  • Emmmanuel Ayara February 13, 2017

    I will like to read more news from you and update on gallstones.

  • glen lewis hartsock March 17, 2017

    hello:

    I would like to buy some ox or cow gallstones, and sell them for profit. please advise.

    thanks for your help.

    Glen Hartsock

  • victor lee June 22, 2017

    i am running a pharmaceutical factory in Asia.
    and i am constantly buying ox gallstones,
    if you can supply some,
    please contact me by these methods:
    whatsapp: +86 15692006831
    email: info.grandorient@gmail.com

  • Kondwani Kaferaanthu August 17, 2017

    In which cows are this gall stones easily found

  • victor lee August 18, 2017

    if you want to know the ox gallstones buyer, ox gallstones price or…….
    for more information about the ox gallstones (calculus bovis)
    you can visit this website, it is our official web:
    http://www.buy-ox-gallstones.com
    http://www.buyoxgallstones.com

  • Abdullahi Mohamed Adam August 29, 2017

    I have 700gm of gallstone how can I sell in the market while I am in Somalia? My phone number 00252-61-5567171

  • Amjad Ellahi September 24, 2017

    WE ARE HONG KONG TRADING COMPANY http://WWW.KAMASHI.COM

    Kindly offer us your best cif Hong Kong price for 100% whole Gallstone based on 200grams

    We pay cash to take the goods

    Thanks
    Amjad

  • A.KADAR MOIDEEN October 14, 2017

    sir we want to cow gallstones.
    kindly send the details with price to us in mehimpex@gmail.com

  • Ahmed October 17, 2017

    Am looking for cattle gallstone in Tanzania. please contact me on asumaye@gmail.com or +255-713-17645.thanks

  • victor lee October 30, 2017

    we are continous buying ox gallstones.
    here is our official website:
    http://www.buy-ox-gallstones.com

  • hussaini singaram November 2, 2017

    Sir I have 50grams of ox natural gall stone how much I get this quantity and plz give me information 10grams of ox gall stone price

  • He XIn November 10, 2017

    I pay best price in market. i am directly buyer from china.
    Can buy locally in any country.
    contact my though whatsapp:+86 18500303326

  • herbert semujju November 20, 2017

    i can supply gallstones

  • Daryl Meikle December 3, 2017

    I have up to 500 grams of Gallstones for sale in NZ if some one is interested in buying them.

  • jeff December 11, 2017

    Have a great quantity now
    contact for more details
    sales at nwtradingltd.com

  • rose maine January 6, 2018

    Have a great quantity of natural gallstones. I’m in Cameron and can supply you year round in any part of the world without any problem. Interested and serious buyers should contact my email now at……rosemaine53@gmail.com
    Thanks.

  • ADOLU GEORGE February 17, 2018

    I live in uganda l also have 100gms now interest buy should contact me on my email adolugeorge1@gmail.com or tel+256775636812

  • victor lee March 7, 2018

    we are continuously buying ox gallstones.
    continuamente compramos calculos biliares de buey.
    estamos continuamente comprando calculos biliares de boi.

    if you want to sell your ox gallstones ( calculus bovis, calculos biliares) to the real ox gallstones buyer and get the good price, like 5~10 % higher price.
    you can get more information from this website:
    http://www.buy-ox-gallstones.com
    http://www.buyoxgallstones.com
    or you can add the WHATSAPP and directly talk with them: +86-156-9200-6831

  • Sergio Goetsa March 8, 2018

    We buy cow gallstone please get in touch for more details
    Wir Kaufen kuh gallstein
    compramos cálculos Biliares de boi
    Entre em contacto para mais detalhes
    sgoetsa1@yahoo.com.br
    Whatsup: 015213885106

    Contact:

  • Perry Laurent March 14, 2018

    Dear All,
    We are quite glad to find this forum.
    Pronto Biz is into looking for resources to aid ancient asian healing systems.
    We have 2 Kg of Ox gallstones available.
    Contact us on : prontobiz@email.com

  • sajjad ahmad March 21, 2018

    I am sajjad ahmad from India I want buy gallstones best quality plz send me price

  • Godfrey azaria April 7, 2018

    Am a Tanzania looking for those gallstones please contact me if you have them i will buy them in good price

    +255762456806

  • getrudecathy April 12, 2018

    i own an abattoir in brazil,i have 6kg of Gallstone.
    do get intouch with me trough my email evalandolo@gmail.com

  • Andrew okelo April 13, 2018

    hello ,im Andrew and im in china now,we are in need of cow gallstones ,whoever has the supply for these gallstones please contact me at my whatsapp number
    +8618631308392
    And email:andrewibrahim14@gmail.com

  • WASIU biliaminu April 13, 2018

    I sell gallstone I have it in large quantity and im rightnow in Nigeria. You can call on this number 2347068376839. And WhatsApp me on same number.

  • WASIU biliaminu April 15, 2018

    Hello, I sell gallstone in large quantity if you are in need of it contact me.I’m presently in Nigeria. 2347068376839.email warzhiubiliy@gmail.com wasiubiliy@outlook.com same number WhatsApp 2347068376839.

  • ismail April 17, 2018

    hi I have some grams of cow gallstones if some one Intrest can contact me 008615067914472

  • I'm bright April 20, 2018

    I have about 2kilograms of cow gallstone and about 100grams of goat gallstone…..contact me if you are interested in buying …+2349026952414

  • world gallstone May 2, 2018

    We are a Chinese pharmaceutical factory and we do continuously buy good quality ox gallstones from allover the world with a very good price.
    If you do have ox gallstones to sell, no matter the quantity please do contact us: email: contact@worldgallstone.com

  • Amarendra May 10, 2018

    At what price u will give for stones per gram I want to know in detail…. What was the price per gram 09959923028 and am from India.

  • West tradings May 11, 2018

    we have 800g grade A cow gallstones for sale. Samples can be made available. contact us via email for details..
    (wtradings@yahoo.com)

  • Ninnu Singh May 11, 2018

    We are traders of Ox/Cow Natural Gallstones.

    We supply 100% wholestone in Bulk quantity at best price. Anyone can contact us on our email – ninnupipebong@gmail.com
    Whatsapp – +91 8979777877

    Sellers can also contact us if you have the best quality in bulk quantity.

  • mildred May 13, 2018

    we have cow gall stones available and we sell at affordable prices and payment is completely done only when goods are delivered

  • Mohamed saed May 25, 2018

    I am in Somalia i wil find Gallstones, and you can contact me at this address – shaabshaaband@gmail.com

  • ivan valero June 13, 2018

    @ victor lee
    hi, Mr. Victor.
    i am ivan from venezuela.
    do you remember me?
    last year(2017) i am the one supply you 180 grams of ox gallstones.
    thanks for your timely payment.
    can you update the newly price to me for the grade A ox gallstones?

    please, i have some stones again, i am waiting your reply.

  • Adil July 20, 2018

    I have goat gallstones and cow gallstones can supply to China or hongkong please contact real buyers only….payment hand to hand or after confirmation. Whatsapp 00971-56-2022090

  • MXOLISI MHLANGA August 2, 2018

    hy im in Swaziland, and i need advice on the appropriate scale (equipment)used to weigh gallstones so that they meet the required market value and price. you can send photos of the equipment if available. i want to supply quality Gallstones to anyone willing to pay

    email me at mxolisimrrr@gmail.com

    Most gallstone suppliers are apparently using a standard set of digital kitchen scales, Mxolisi. They will accurately measure down to 1 gram increments. Editor

  • haidali mussa August 11, 2018

    from tanzania dar es salaam i buy and sell gallstone
    please contact me;
    whatsapp; +255758217249
    email; haidomussa@gmail.com

  • Abdul August 15, 2018

    We have top quality natural dried gallstones available and ready in bulk and retail. Our gallstones come from the UAE, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan . We have Ox gallstones,Goat gallstones,Camel gallstones and all top grade. Contact directly through email :globalsolutions80@gmx.com or WhatsApp # +971525862080

  • Mohamed mahgoub alshiekh September 6, 2018

    Ihave gallestone 150GM and I need to know price contact me by Emaile
    Thanks u

  • Ibrahim Opaleye aderemi September 8, 2018

    I sell a cow gallstone of a very good quality send me your address and you get within a week contact me directly on my whatsapp number +2348136980122

  • Lara FH September 10, 2018

    Iam looking to buy a real natural cow gallstones
    With the best quality
    If there is any suppliers here please contact me at
    Alfawares09@gmail.com

  • Fred & sheena Whiter September 17, 2018

    I’m in NSW Australia , with good quality gallstones for sale , please contact by email

  • jason klein September 24, 2018

    Hello we are suppliers of High Quality Dried Ox Gallstones. We can supply 20kg monthly. Email jwhite00201@gmail.com if interested

  • jason klein September 24, 2018

    Dried Ox Gallstones for sale at very good prices. Email jwhite00201@gmail.com

  • Richard September 25, 2018

    Am looking fo r a gallstones buyer ,am in Zimbabwe ,I can supply quantities you want.what is your price?

  • charles francis September 26, 2018

    I buy gallstones @28 usd per gram email charlsefrancis112@gmail.com

  • victor lee September 27, 2018

    Dear All,

    we are an ox gallstones purchasing company base in hong kong.
    if you have some ox gallstones (cow gallstones, cattle gallstones, calculos biliares or bezoar etc.)
    you can contact us by this contact:
    whatsapp:0086-156-9200-6831
    email:info.grandorient@gmail.com

    thanks !

  • Mara October 2, 2018

    I have Brazilian cow bezoar/cow gallstones to sell.
    We have a company in Hong Kong and China, we are a suitable company if you need a good and serious supply, please contact me Whatsapp +5511951730528 Mara.

  • Linda O'kelly October 5, 2018

    I buy gallstones all over the country . But i am in South africa Please contact me . lstorm6303@gmail.com

  • AMJAD ELLAHI October 8, 2018

    Hi we are trading company in Hong Kong http://www.kamashi.com we buy cow gallstones, ox gallstones, if you have kindly offer us by email kamashi@kamashi.com or whatsapp me at +852 93649624

  • Gabriel Agbi October 12, 2018

    hello ,i am a good supplier of OX gallstone from nigeria looking for real buyers ,if you are interested please chat me up on whatapp +2349084860645

  • Arosi Benard October 15, 2018

    Am buying ox gallstones at a fair price. Am from Kenya, Mombasa. If you have them, contact me here on WhatsApp, +254701227054 or on my email, arosibenard44@gmail.com

  • ali mark October 16, 2018

    we are supplier of cow gallstone from the victoria cattle farms contact if interest we have 2kg available now
    whatsapp us via +1(720)8202957 or skype us ( slung.weed )

  • Olaitan Adegboye October 21, 2018

    I have gallstone for sale contact, serious buyers whatzapp no +2348096602875

  • briayan October 26, 2018

    OX,Cow Gallstones of high quality(yellow) for sell at a very good price 2kg available for the moment please contact us via whatsapp if interested +1(413) 561-2305

  • matthew chaance October 28, 2018

    i need gallstone in large quantity. if you from nigeria, cameroon, togo , ghana chat me up on whatsapp +2349023667851

  • Revai Ruzvidzo October 28, 2018

    I am buying cow stones I’m in Zimbabwe,email me on revairuzvidzo@gmail.com
    WhatsApp +263777789394
    Calls +263713102698

  • Ravi Kushna October 28, 2018

    Ox Gallstones available, 100% Gallstones contact for more information. whatsapp…+919862297195

  • Chitti lovely October 29, 2018

    Iam selling gallstones any one interested whatsapp 7036149174

  • jose lima October 29, 2018

    We have ox Gallstones ,cow Gallstones available contact copagrilsa@gmail.com or whats app +1 (470) 243-7802

  • Cesar Rogerio October 29, 2018

    Ox Gallstones, Cow Gallstones Available contact bfoodsglobal@gmail.com .whats-app +1 470 243-7802

  • Felix Letia October 29, 2018

    100gms gallstone if interested kindly whatsupp me on 0706362990

  • AMJAD ELLAHI November 8, 2018

    We are Hong Kong company
    http://www.kamashi.com
    we buy cow gallstones, ox gallstones,
    whatsapp +852 9364 9624

  • Mbella Joseph November 15, 2018

    Dear Buyers,
    I am from Cameroon. Presently i have 2-3 Kilograms monthly supply of both ox and cow gallstones available. Any interested buyer please contact me on email: khamalj6@gmail.com or Whatsapp: +237650756102

  • Mbella Joseph November 15, 2018

    OX Gallstone available. 300 gram. please email me at: khamalj6@gmail.com or whatsapp:+237650756102

  • okoro chibike November 24, 2018

    OX Gallstone avialable . 100 grams .i sell cheap too you
    my whatsap:+2349069065958 from nigeria
    thenks

  • pedro brian November 25, 2018

    We Sell High Grade Ox Gallstones 80/20, Cow,Ox, Cattle Gallstones
    contact for more detail via
    lstore@yahoo.com
    whatsapp… +1(216)7508983

  • pedro brian November 25, 2018

    we have available gallstones for sell
    contact for more details and prices
    lstore@yahoo.com
    whatsapp … +1(216)7508983

  • We Buy Cow Ox Gallstones, WhatsApp +852 93649624 November 27, 2018

    Hi we are hong kong company http://www.kamashi.com
    We buy cow gallstones, Every week 5kg
    WhatsApp +852 93649624
    Send your price , photos, and available quantity

  • nathalia kk December 2, 2018

    @victor lee
    hi, mr. victor
    i supplied you the ox gallstones in April, 2017,
    do you remember me ?
    i have some ox gallstones like 135 grams right now,
    and i have sent you my stones’ photo to your WHATSAPP.
    please check my stones’ quality and reply me.

    thanks,
    nathalia

  • victor lee December 2, 2018

    hi, we are a professional ox gallstones/ cow gallstones purchasing company base in hong kong.
    if you have the ox gallstones now,
    you can send the pictures of your stones with the note of the weight to our official contact:
    Whatsapp: 0086-156-9200-6831
    Email: info.grandorient@gmail.com

    More information about us, you can browse our company link:
    https://www.buy-ox-gallstones.com
    https://www.buyoxgallstones.com
    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/goiel

    please, marketer do not contact !

  • Angus Edeh December 3, 2018

    We have good quantity of gallstones for sale.
    In Abuja ,Nigeria.
    WhatsApp.no. ±2348098540099

  • admire makina December 7, 2018

    i have gallstones in zimbabwe email me at admiremckennah@gmail.com cell number +263775745685

  • chris wong December 7, 2018

    we are hong kong based company. we are interested in buying Ox gallstones.
    pls quote cif hong kong.
    our email id: gandvsinternational@gmail.com
    thank you

  • Al Ali Muhammad December 9, 2018

    We specialize in the trading of gallstones with so many years of experience from an international gallstones supply company, we are able to produce a wide assortment of quality gallstones with various shapes as required by our customers. If you are interested in buying gallstones from us kindly contact us via email: tradinggallstones@gmail.com for quick responds and more details.

    Thanks, we are looking forward to received your reply to proceed our cooperation.

  • Agro House Farmers December 11, 2018

    Hello gallstone buyers, This is Agro house farmers number one suppliers of Gallstone. intersted buyer should contact for more details.

    contact info:
    agrohousefarmers@gmail.com.
    Call/text or whatsapp : +971529113758

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