Mexican world cup players were recently banned from eating beef. Why? As it turns out, red meat has a lot to do with doping.
Mexico's world cup coach Miguel Herrera says that he has banned his players from eating red meat until the World Cup is over. The team is being cautious ever since some players tested positive for clenbuterol during the 2011 Gold Cup. As it turns out, clenbuterol is a muscle-building drug used in people and animals. When red meat is eaten, it can trigger the drug tests that look for the drug.
The USDA has banned the use of clenbuterol in animals, and most other civilized nations have followed suit. Mexico is not one of those nations though. The country says it uses the drug to fatten up its cattle. It's also frequently used as a performance enhancing drug in the sports world which is where the current concern stems from. A number of athletes over the years have been barred from competing after it was found they used clenbuterol to build muscle.
This puts Mexico in a unique position. The country is one of the only major nations that uses the drug in its food supply and yet it's use is banned by all the major sports associations. Back in 2011, FIFA found that over 100 competitors at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico tested positive for the drug after consuming meat in the country.
While players haven't been eating beef for a few weeks, one of the players may be flagged. Miguel Ponce was called in to replace the injured Juan Carlos Medina. Since he wasn't originally going to play, he wasn't banned from eating meat. He claims to have eaten a few tacos before he was placed on the team, but he hopes he doesn't get flagged for the drug before the game.
Besides Ponce, the Mexican World Cup players should be fine as they prepare for their first match against Cameroon on June 13. The team will then play against Brazil on June 17 and Croatia on June 23.