The Consumer Council yesterday named and shamed 28 shops which cheated customers by selling 'deer tendon' - a popular Chinese medicine ingredient - which actually came from cattle. Customs officers tested deer tendon, which is said to boost men's sexual performance and strengthen the body, from 29 shops. But DNA testing proved that only one sample came from deer, landing the other stores with fines of up to HK$50,000. After testing the tendon samples in September last year, customs officers raided the shops and seized 187 catties (112,000 grams) of suspected fake tendon, said to be worth HK$41,200. By the beginning of this month, all the shops had been convicted of breaching the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. Each outlet was fined between HK$2,000 and HK$50,000. 'The practice of selling cattle tendon as deer tendon is quite common ... eating cattle tendon doesn't harm your health. But deer tendon is rarer and more expensive,' the council's chief executive, Connie Lau Yin-hing, said. Wholesalers charge between HK$280 and HK$640 a catty for deer tendon, customs officers say, while cattle tendon is sold for HK$50 to HK$80 a catty. Kwan Chi-yee, president of the Hong Kong Chinese Herbalists Association, said eating tendon from deer, cows and pigs had similar benefits for the kidneys. However, deer tendon, especially from spotted deer, was most effective for medical use. 'Deer tendon can boost men's sexual functions ... the effect of cattle tendon on sexual functions is very small, and tendon from pig legs cannot serve that purpose at all,' he said. The tendon is often used in soup or a stew. An employee at the Kwong Tai Medicine Company in North Point, one of five shops on Hong Kong Island convicted of mislabelling, blamed its supplier for the problem. 'They told us the tendon came from a different type of deer and was less expensive [than spotted deer],' he said. The shop now sells genuine deer tendon at more than five times the price it charged for cattle tendon. Some 12 shops in Kowloon and 11 in the New Territories were also prosecuted.