World Para Powerlifting and World Para Swimming have warned athletes competing at the World Championships in Mexico City, from 30 September-6 October, about the dangers of consuming contaminated meat.
There are reports clenbuterol, a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), is being used to increase growth in Mexican livestock, including cattle, lamb, poultry and swine, and could therefore be accidentally eaten by competing athletes.
A number of cases worldwide have shown that illicit administration of clenbuterol to animals destined for food production can result in, if eaten under specific conditions, a positive sample from an athlete.
In humans the drug is used for performance-enhancement by increasing lean muscle mass and reducing body fat and is classified by WADA under the category of other Anabolic Agents.
WADA has issued specific warnings about this problem in China and Mexico. Unfortunately, anti-doping authorities have no control over agricultural and food safety practices in these countries, and inadvertent ingestion remains an ongoing issue for athletes.
Both the hotels and the venues where the athletes will be staying will not serve meat (beef or pork). However, fish and other low risk options will be available. Athletes must use the utmost care and caution if eating meat whilst traveling abroad, and should be aware of the potential for contamination.
To reduce the risk of unintentionally ingesting clenbuterol through contaminated meat, athletes must:
• Choose foods from a reputable food source.
• Avoid eating liver or liver derived products whilst overseas.
• Avoid eating unusual or exotic meat products.
Athletes are encouraged to keep a detailed dietary journal whilst travelling to Mexico and China which may be helpful in recalling the details of specific meat ingestion should it be required to assist in results management.
Under the World Anti-Doping Code, clenbuterol is a non-threshold non-specified substance, meaning that any amount of clenbuterol detected in an athlete urine sample is reported as a positive test. Therefore, it is important to note that strict liability dictates an athlete has ultimate responsibility for what is in his/her system, regardless of its origin.
World Para Powerlifting and World Para Swimming will continue to keep the teams aware of new developments regarding this issue should there are any prior to the World Championships.