NFL warns players about contaminated meat in Mexico, China

The NFL and NFL Players association have warned players in a memo about consuming meat from Mexico and China that might contain clenbuterol, a performance-enhancing drug.

Story highlights

  • The NFL and its players association have warned players about consuming meat from Mexico and China that might contain clenbuterol
  • Clenbuterol is banned by the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances
  • Athletes in other sports who have tested positive for clenbuterol have blamed it on consuming meat

(CNN)Note to NFL players: Before you eat that steak on your Cancun vacation, find out where it came from.

The NFL and NFL Players Association have warned players in a memo about consuming meat from Mexico and China that might contain clenbuterol, a performance-enhancing drug.
    "There is evidence that some meat produced in China and Mexico may be contaminated with clenbuterol, an anabolic agent which is banned by the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances," the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement to players. "Consuming large quantities of meat while visiting those particular countries may result in a positive test for clenbuterol in violation of the Policy."
    NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told CNN that the league wanted to warn the players and urged the drug program's independent administrator to send that memo.
    "Thanks for the heads up," Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Jr. said on Twitter in reference to the memo. "If you have a few steak dinners on vacation your (sic) screwed."
    The tainted meat issue has been brought up before. According to ESPN, boxer Francisco Vargas tested positive for clenbuterol, which is banned in the sport, last month.
    According to the ESPN report, Vargas' promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, said in a statement that Vargas "believes he tested positive due to ingesting contaminated meat in Mexico, where clenbuterol is commonly used by ranchers in livestock feed."
    In 2011 five players on the men's Mexican national soccer team were banned ahead of the Gold Cup after testing positive for the drug. Decio de Maria, Secretary General of the Mexican Federation of Football, blamed the failed tests on bad meat eaten by the players.
    Alberto Contador, who won the Tour de France in 2010, blamed a positive test on meat. He too tested positive for clenbuterol and was later was stripped of his title.
    Clenbuterol is on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned substances list. According to WADA's website, it's possible that under certain circumstance the presence of a low level of clenbuterol in an athlete sample can be the result of food contamination.