China hits back at steroid meat charge

Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:19am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has hit back at a report advising foreign athletes to avoid eating meat in the country due to what it said were increased risks of unintentional doping.

Germany's anti-doping agency (NADA) said there was a higher risk in China and Mexico of accidental doping and potential failed drug tests.

The report cited the alleged risks of the banned anabolic substance clenbuterol, which can be used to speed up and increase muscle mass in animals.

NADA subsequently warned German athletes visiting China to avoid eating meat where possible.

However, Zhao Jian, deputy director of the China Anti-Doping Agency, told the China Daily newspaper the Germans were over-reacting.

"Foreign athletes should be assured about the quality of food offered in China," he said.

"All food purchased for big sports events is closely examined," he said, towing a line China was forced to repeat frequently in the build-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"There is also nothing to be afraid of for Chinese athletes, as domestic teams always train together and the food supplied for the training base is strictly inspected.

"China annually holds 100 to 200 domestic and international sports events," added Zhou. "The problem would have been exposed long before if any food was contaminated.   Continued...