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IHRB confirms French lab is 'operating to a more sensitive level for zilpaterol'
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IHRB confirms French lab is 'operating to a more sensitive level for zilpaterol'
on 16 October 2020
The source of the feed contamination which led to the withdrawal of Aidan O'Brien's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runners appears to have been found

THE Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board yesterday confirmed that no Irish or British winners have tested positive recently for zilpaterol.

Traces of this banned substance were found in the post-race samples of five recent French winners, all of which were linked to a batch of cnotaminated feed from Gain Equine Nutrition.

The problem first came to light on Friday, October 2nd when Gain confirmed that its feed was linked to five positive post-race tests in France. Irish and British customers were advised to switch feeds and this led to trainers Aidan, Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien withdrawing all their runners at ParisLongchamp on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day.

Last Sunday the company revealed that one of its suppliers had just issued a recall notice for a batch of molasses it had distributed which is believed to have contained minute traces of the banned substance.

Last Sunday morning Gain issued a statement which read: “In line with our commitment to keep our customers informed, Gain can confirm that at 9pm last night (Saturday, October 10th), ED & F Man, an international supplier of the feed ingredient molasses, issued an “urgent action & recall notice” which stated: ‘ED & F Man Liquid Products Ireland Ltd is informing you that products listed below are suspected of containing minute traces of the substance zilpaterol. Although the initial levels detected are extremely low, the substance in question is banned in the European Union.”

An official EU alert went online this week, confirming prohibited substance zilpaterol (22 parts per billion) in sugar cane molasses from South Africa. Based on notification, this molasses consignment was also delivered to the UK, so it remains to be seen if any UK purchasers of the batch decide to take any action.

Posting an update yesterday, the IHRB said: “LCH (the analytical laboratory for France Galop and Le Trot) and LGC (the analytical laboratory for the BHA and IHRB) are both able to detect zilpaterol in urine, blood and hair to the Recommended Target Sensitivity. LCH have, however, been operating to a more sensitive level for zilpaterol.”

The IHRB added that the racing authorities would now consult on whether it was possible to harmonise reporting limits for zilpaterol.

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