Springer: The strange realities of inadvertent doping

From Stephanie Springer at The Hardball Times on April 8, 2019:

Occasionally, when a suspension for violating the MLB Joint Drug Agreement is announced, the accused party will allege that he didn’t knowingly used a prohibited substance, chalking up his test result to a “careless” mistake. Whispers ensue in the comments section of your favorite baseball websites, contending that unintentional doping must be the result of eating meat treated with the detected substance. However, the use of growth promoting chemicals in animals raised for human consumption has been banned in many countries around the world. In theory, their presence in the meat of in food-producing animals (and subsequently in an athlete’s urine) should be a rarity. But is it? Is it possible that players consuming meat when they’re abroad during the offseason can lead to a case of unintentional doping?

This isn’t all that farfetched, and the analytical chemistry and food science communities have been aware of the possibility of a transfer of drugs from food-producing animals to humans for decades. The possibility of nandrolone-contaminated meat leading to a positive drug test presented itself as an issue at the 2000 Olympics. By 2008, researchers advised Olympians to refrain from eating “indefinable meat dishes (such as pasta filled with meat), which could be made from low-quality meat,” boar meat, and pork offal. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a statement in 2011 urging athletes to use caution when consuming meat. The U.S. Anti-Doping Association (USADA) issued its own guidance on clenbuterol, suggesting that players avoid eating liver, liver products, and “unusual or exotic meat products” when not in the States.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-strange-case-of-inadvertent-doping/

Originally published: April 11, 2019. Last Updated: April 11, 2019.