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Fourth-Place Medal

Olympians warned: Don’t eat liver

Fourth-Place Medal

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With the London Olympics quickly approaching, the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Association warned athletes to avoid foods that will make an athlete test positive on a drug screening. The top of that list? Liver, which can increase the risk of an athlete testing positive for anabolic agent clenbuterol.

The Food Standard Agency, a British government agency similar to the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., advised athletes against eating liver.

The FSA cannot rule out the possibility that if a large portion of liver is consumed containing clenbuterol at permitted residue limits, urine collected shortly after consumption may contain detectable levels of clenbuterol. This depends on many factors including the amount consumed, the timing of the urine test and the analytical methods used.

Food has played a part in positive drug tests in the past. Tong Wen, an Olympic gold medalist weightlifter from China, blamed pork chops when she tested positive for clenbuterol. Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador also tested positive for clenbuterol, and blamed a steak.

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Thankfully, it's a food that isn't exactly a great sacrifice to avoid. It's not like telling a marathoner that he can't eat a bowl of pasta the night before race time, or the pictured Belgian sailor that she can't have that sandwich. Olympic athletes should be able to find other, much tastier sources of protein.

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