MEXICO CITY Pan-American Games hosts Mexico on Thursday joined China in denying there was a high clenbuterol content in its beef that could increase the risk of unintentional doping.
Germany's anti-doping agency NADA issued a report advising foreign athletes to avoid eating beef in the two countries, saying there was a higher risk there of it containing the banned anabolic agent with the potential for failing doping tests.
Clenbuterol can be used to speed up and increase muscle mass in animals.
"For someone to say that seems very daring to us. We can give all our assurances to athletes they won't run any kind of risk with that substance in Mexico," said Octavio Carranza, head of the national health organisation Senasica.
On Wednesday, Zhao Jian, deputy director of the China Anti-Doping Agency told the China Daily newspaper that the NADA was over-reacting.
"We were surprised that an agency with prestige should make such statements. We have set up preventive measures to ensure there is no such consumption in our country," Carranza told reporters.
Mexican Olympic Committee (COM) president Felipe Munoz said all food eaten by athletes in Mexico was certified and free of clenbuterol.
"We haven't had any cases of beef contaminated with clenbuterol which is why these statements surprised us," he said.
COPAG, organisers of the Pan-American Games in the Mexican city of Guadalajara in October, were quick to allay the fears.
"Beef will be one of the foodstuffs we will check on a daily basis to be sure it is free of this substance and that will ensure for us that no athlete will have a problem," said COPAG's director of catering Jose Agredano.
(Reporting by Carlos Calvo; writing by Rex Gowar; editing by Pritha Sarkar; to query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)