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Cargill Acknowledges Ractopamine Contamination

Contamination caused provisional suspension of horses

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The United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) appreciates the efforts made by Cargill to determine how two horses ridden in a Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) competition by two US Equestrian members were exposed to a (FEI) Banned Substance, ractopamine.

While ractopamine is legal in the U.S. for use in swine, turkey, and cattle for building muscle and size, the medication is included on the FEI Prohibited Substances list as a Banned Substance. Ractopamine has been outlawed altogether in 160 nations, including the European Union, Russia, and China due to its controversial and adverse effects in cattle and swine.

The horses had been administered a Cargill manufactured product, Progressive Nutrition® Soothing Pink™, a gastric nutritional supplement that contained ractopamine. This FEI Banned Substance was not disclosed on the product ingredient list due to trace amounts of the substance being present in one of the ingredients. Cargill had samples from the same batch tested, and those samples tested positive as well.

The FEI imposed a provisional suspension on the riders and the horses as required under the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Medication regulations. The riders and owners sought relief from the suspension, which the FEI Tribunal granted by lifting the riders’ suspensions. The Court Arbitration of Sport (CAS) ruled that the provisional suspension on the horses has been lifted, effective Monday, May 8, 2017.

The FEI has a policy to provisionally suspend horses for an initial period of two months regardless of the source or cause of the positive sample and cites horse welfare, and a fair and level playing field for the purposes of the policy.

Since the positive tests have come to light, Cargill issued a statement regarding the incident, including an admission of responsibility for the contaminated supplement. The statement reads, in part:

“Through our investigation, we identified that Progressive Nutrition® Soothing Pink™, a nutritional supplement used to prevent gastric upset, contained an ingredient that included trace amounts of ractopamine. Upon learning of this trace finding, we immediately withdrew our Progressive Nutrition® Soothing Pink™ product from the market. At this time, we have identified and isolated the ingredient that was the source of the contamination and we have completely stopped use of the ingredient in all products.”

US Equestrian and the FEI warn all potential persons who may be responsible for horse care, including riders, athletes, and support staff to be diligent about confirming ingredients that are ingested by their competition horses.

It is recommended that caretakers keep a logbook listing all supplements administered to competing horses including all details such as date of administration, who administered the supplement, dose, place of administration (location), official product name, and relevant batch number. Logbooks can be obtained from the FEI Veterinary Department. This information was critical in identifying the source of the positive test results in these cases.

View US Equestrian’s Learning Center video, “Best Practices: Five Steps to Avoid Horse Drug Violations” for further information. Click here for a full list of the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication regulations.

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