Rushall, B. S. (2003). Contaminated dietary meat sources that lead to positive drug tests. Private Paper.

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Nutritional scientists around the world are becoming increasingly alarmed at the emergence of awareness of the effects of steroid enhanced animal growth in animal husbandry. While research is still accumulating, the trend in research findings is consistent, animals that have had growth enhanced by substances such as Nandrolone, Clenbuterol, and Trenbolone retain those substances in tissues after slaughter and are later consumed by a secondary party (Sundorf et al., 1983). Debruyckere et al. (1992) showed the presence of clostebol metabolites in human urine after oral intake of contaminated meat.

Le Bizec et al. (2000) concluded “We have thus proved that eating tissues of non-castrated male pork (in which 17 beta-nandrolone is present) might induce some false accusations of the abuse of nandrolone in antidoping.” Kicman et al. (1994). also warned “eating meat containing small amounts of injected hormone may constitute a serious liability to the athlete.”

The majority of European researchers have investigated the transference of Clenbuterol (not a steroid but a beta-2 agonist), not for its growth effects but for its making meat leaner. Brambill et al. (2000) recommended that attention be given to the epidemic of transfer of drug residues through Clenbuterol stimulated animal growth. It is a serious problem that has been largely ignored by the scientific community and regulatory bodies. As little as 100-200 gm of a Clenbuterol contaminated liver and meat is sufficient to produce pharmacological effects (Kuiper, 1998). Clostebol is another veterinary steroid that has been shown to transfer into athletes and cause positive test results (Debruyckere, Sagher, & Van Peteghem, 1992). Nandrolone is a popular growth enhancer in the beef industry in the USA. Any fat-soluble steroid or beta-2 agonist used to enhance animal growth will remain in the animal and will accumulate with frequent injections. Frequent consumption of contaminated meats will cause the accumulation of contaminants in the ingesting mammal.

WADA/IOC has ignored this potential cause of athlete contamination effects. Not recognizing this does not mean it does not exist nor does it mean that any accusations about “cheating” when positive drug tests are caused by popular animal husbandry products are true and just. It is beyond the realm of belief that athletes are expected to know what animal products that are obtainable over the counter are tainted by residual steroids from farming practices.

Some athletes adhere to a high meat content diet in the belief that their ability to gain and replenish protein will be benefited. An above average level of this dietary practice raises the possibility of accumulating a banned drug (e.g., nandrolone) or its metabolites from steroid-contaminated meat. In the USA, there appear to be regions and farming-practices where contaminated meats are produced more readily than others. For example, corporate farms that attempt to maximize productivity use growth enhancers more than “family” and smaller farms.


Brambilla, G., Cenci, T., Franconi, F., Galarini, R., Macri, A., Rondoni, F., Strozzi, M., & Loizzo, A. (2000). Clinical and pharmacological profile in a clenbuterol epidemic poisoning of contaminated beef meat in Italy. Toxicology Letters, 114, 47-53.

Debruyckere, G., Sagher, R., & Van Peteghem, C. (1992). Closbetol positive urine after consumption of contaminated meat. Clinical Chemistry, 38, 1869-1873.

Kuiper, H. A., Noordam, M. Y., van Dooren-Flipsen, M. M., Schilt, R., & Roos, A. H. (1998). Illegal use of beta-adrenergic agonists: European Community. Journal of Animal Science, 76(1), 195-207.

Kicman, A. T., Cowan, D. A., Myhre, L., Nilsson, S., Tomten, S., & Oftebro, H. (1994). Effect on sports drug tests of ingesting meat from steroid (methenolone)-treated livestock. Clinical Chemistry. 40(11 Pt 1), 2084-2087.

Le Bizec, B., Gaudin, I., Monteau, F., Andre, F., Impens, S., De Wasch, K., & De Brabander, H. (2000). Consequence of boar edible tissue consumption on urinary profiles of nandrolone metabolites. I. Mass spectrometric detection and quantification of 19-norandrosterone and 19-noretiocholanolone in human urine. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 14(12), 1058-1065.

Sundlof, S. F., Duer, W. C., Hill, D. W., Gancarz, T., Dorvil, M. G., & Rosen, P. (1983). Procaine in the urine of racing Greyhounds: possible sources. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 44, 1583-1587.

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