Contaminated by ClenbuterolMay 02, 2017
A Canadian weightlifter was the latest athlete to be sanctioned after testing positive for clenbuterol. She claimed contaminated food was the reason for the positive test.
Taylor Findlay was tested out-of-competition in February 2016. On May 1st the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) publicly disclosed the decision to ban the weightlifter for four years.
Findlay, who works full time at a veterinary clinic, told in her hearing she ate horse meat at a French restaurant prior to her sample being collected out-of-competition. The analysis found a presence of clenbuterol at a level roughly estimated at 0.15 ng/ml; which - according to the written decision is compatible with the consumption of contaminated meat in Mexico and China.
Claiming contaminated food
China, Mexico and Guatemala are all countries where the risk of eating contaminated food is high. Therefor many sports organizations recommends athletes traveling to these countries to "go vegetarian".
Findlay is not the first athlete to claim contaminated food. The best known case is Alberto Contador who tested positive for the same substance during the Tour de France in 2010.
He was given a two year suspension as that was the strongest ban to be given at that time.
The International Soccer Federation (FIFA) experienced first hand how big the problem with contaminated meat is during the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico in 2011. No less than 109 of 208 samples contained clenbuterol.
FIFA medical officer Jiri Dvorak said to Associated Press that "It is not a problem of doping, but a problem of public health."
More than 200 banned
We we have registered more than 250 doping-cases where the athlete has tested positive for clenbuterol in the Anti-Doping Database.
Body building is the sport with the most cases (61) followed by athletics (46) and cycling (26). We have so far registered 24 weightlifters who has tested positive for the banned substance.
Czech Republic is the country with the most cases (32) followed by China (21) and Australia (17). We have so far registered seven athletes from Canada who has tested positive for clenbuterol.
155 athletes has been banned for two years, while 36 has been given a four year ban. Four has been given a public warning and six athletes has so far been given a lifetime suspension.
The popularity of this drug among some athletes is due to the anabolic effect together with the fat reducing effect of this drug, even though there is, to my knowledge, no clinical evidence that can support such effects. The likely explanation is that the fat is re-distributed into the muscle.
In many countries clenbuterol is only prescribed to animals and is used e.g. for respiratory disease in horses and in cattle to relax the uterus at the time of parturition. It is also used illegally in pigs to obtain leaner meats. There have been several reported occasions where people have been poisoned by eating pork contaminated by clenbuterol.
Contador, cows and strict liability: