Please review the following advisory from WADA regarding Clenbuterol.  It is critical that all athletes and coaches take precaution when traveling to Mexico and China.

WADA’s position is as follows:

This unsatisfactory situation related to meat contamination with clenbuterol has been widely acknowledged by the anti-doping community. Effectively, when the circumstances of a positive case indicate that the athlete has been in one of the identified countries where clenbuterol meat contamination is significant, the anti-doping community views it as unreasonable to put the burden of proof on the athlete, i.e. to prove that the meat, which he or she had consumed, was contaminated; in particular, eight years after the fact. However, before a case is closed on the basis of low clenbuterol levels consistent with contamination, WADA recommends investigating such things as meat intake and whether there was exposure to a geographical area where contaminated meat is known to be prevalent.


Triathlon Canada Advisory:

  • Avoid or limit consumption of cattle, lamb or swine in Mexico or China.

Additional Clenbuterol facts;

  • Clenbuterol is a prohibited substance, classified under the category of Other Anabolic Agents on the Prohibited List because it promotes muscle growth through anabolic properties.
  • Clenbuterol is sometimes used, as a performance enhancer, by athletes to increase lean muscle mass and reduce body fat.
  • For many years, there have been reports of clenbuterol use in some countries to promote growth in livestock, including: cattle, lamb and swine.
  • As far back as 2011, WADA issued specific warnings about this problem in China and Mexico, where the prevalence of meat contamination by clenbuterol is known to be high.
  • There have been numerous reported cases in countries where ingestion of meat, originating from an animal that has received illicit administration of clenbuterol, has resulted in low level positive samples.
  • Unfortunately, anti-doping authorities have no control over agricultural and food safety practices in these countries, and inadvertent ingestion is an ongoing issue for athletes. The matter has been raised with public authorities; however, in most cases, it is linked with black market activity in the meat production chain.
  • Despite continuously improving analytical methods for testing, it still remains impossible, without taking into account other factors, to determine whether a positive sample stems from pharmacological intake of clenbuterol or unintentional ingestion through contaminated meat.
  • Under the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), any amount of clenbuterol is reported by WADA-accredited laboratories.
  • Pre-Beijing, athletes were warned of the clenbuterol food contamination issue in China. Since then, further information has confirmed the high prevalence in China.
  • As it relates to the IOC’s Re-Analysis Program for Beijing, it was determined that, eight years later, athletes could not reasonably be expected to recall where and what they ate, which may have led to their consuming the substance.
  • There have been numerous, high profile, cases beyond the IOC Re-Analysis Program which have been managed the same way; such as, the over 100 players that tested positive for clenbuterol, due to contaminated meat, during the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico.
  • In fairness to all athletes, WADA’s approach for such cases has been consistent when the levels and the circumstances of the case are compatible with meat contamination.
  • Since the issue of meat contamination was first exposed, WADA has been working closely with sports authorities in the countries concerned to address the root cause; and, has dedicated significant resources to research studies aimed at distinguishing pharmacological versus contamination origins of clenbuterol. This work is ongoing.
  • It should be noted that athletes around the world are tested by WADA-accredited laboratories having very low level detection for clenbuterol. Cases are regularly reported and sanctioned when it is proven that the clenbuterol is of pharmacological origin. Hundreds of cases have been prosecuted since 2010