Important information about contaminated meat

1 March 2012

Australian athletes competing or training in China, Mexico, and countries in the European Union (EU) should be aware of important information released by international anti-doping organisations regarding clenbuterol.

In November 2011 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released an advisory cautioning that meat in China and Mexico could be contaminated with this prohibited substance. The following month UK Anti-Doping advised that, while stringent EU rules are in place to prevent clenbuterol contamination of meat, athletes should be wary of consuming large quantities of liver in this region.

It is important that Australian athletes are aware of this information, particularly in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Under WADA’s principle of strict liability, athletes are responsible for any prohibited substance found in their body even if it is ingested inadvertently.

China and Mexico

For Australian athletes competing or training in China and Mexico, WADA has re-emphasised the need for athletes to exercise extreme caution with regards to eating meat there.

WADA said:

It has been shown that Mexico and China have a serious problem with meat contaminated with the prohibited substance clenbuterol, and WADA’s message to athletes competing in these countries remains the same: eat only in restaurants and cafeterias that have been approved by your federation and/or event organiser. Furthermore when eating outside these designated cafeteria and restaurants, always try to eat in large numbers.

WADA’s full statement urging athletes to exercise extreme caution with regards to what and where they eat in these regions is available on its website.

Countries in the European Union

Athletes competing or training in countries in the EU should also be aware that UK Anti-Doping is advising athletes to be careful of ingesting large quantities of liver in this region.

This advice is based on evidence from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) which stated:

The FSA cannot rule out the possibility that if a large portion of liver is consumed containing clenbuterol at permitted residue limits, urine collected shortly after consumption may contain detectable levels of clenbuterol. This depends on many factors including the amount consumed, the timing of the urine test and the analytical methods used.

UK Anti-Doping’s full advisory can be found on its website.

Clenbuterol in Australia

ASADA has received advice from Australian authorities that clenbuterol is banned for use in animals that are slaughtered for food in Australia. So for the majority of Australian athletes falling under the National Anti-Doping Scheme, the risk associated with this type of contamination is low.

Further information on clenbuterol

WADA’s Prohibited List categorises clenbuterol as a class S1 Anabolic Agent. The substance is prohibited in- and out-of-competition and athletes in possession, using or attempting to use this prohibited substance potentially face serious penalties.

ASADA treats any positive test for clenbuterol on a case by case basis.

For all your anti-doping information needs check out the ASADA website, call ASADA on 13 000 ASADA (27232) or email