Ask RIDE…What about the beef defence?


Is there any risk of a rider testing positive for clenbuterol if they eat a steak in Australia?
Keep up the great work,
Rob Arnold.

peloton-with-cows004pPHOTO: Yuzuru Sunada.

Hi Regan

Thanks for your question. I have provided some background to the registered use of clenbuterol below.

Clenbuterol is registered for use in Australia as a muscle relaxant during labour for cows and sheep. It is used infrequently for this purpose and is only available for use on prescription and under the supervision of a registered veterinary surgeon. Clenbuterol has withholding periods (WHP) for meat and milk, which are the minimum periods which must elapse between last administration of the medicine to the animal and collection of milk or slaughter of the animal for human consumption. The WHP for both meat and milk is six days and ensures that residues in milk or meat are unlikely and any residues that may occur are safe for human consumption. WHPs are a mandatory part of our regulatory system for veterinary medicines.

Clenbuterol is also registered for use in Australia for treatment of respiratory diseases in horses not used for food production.

The National Residues Survey (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) undertake random and targeted compliance monitoring of agricultural and veterinary chemical residues and environmental contaminants in Australian to ensure that residues in food do not exceed allowable limits. Survey results are publicly available in annual reports on their website here.

The National Residue Survey provides evidence and quality assurance to consumers and export markets that the usage of agricultural and veterinary chemicals is in accordance with the regulatory framework. Of the 326 cattle samples and 370 sheep samples tested by the National Residues Survey in 2009-10, there were zero detections.

The role of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is to independently evaluate the safety and performance of pesticides and veterinary medicines intended for sale, ensuring that the health and safety of people, animals and crops, the environment and trade are protected.



Felicity McDonald is the Public Affairs officer for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

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