A contaminated shipment of imported molasses that was added into several brands of horse feeds in Britain has led to a 14-day moratorium over positive doping tests by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).
Cane molasses originating from South Africa containing Zilpaterol Hydrochloride was imported by a supplier into Ireland and later the UK, and was supplied to several equine feed companies. In recent weeks there have been positive tests detected under the rules of racing in France from feed originating from one Irish company. There was higher contamination in the feed originating from Ireland than Britain, the supplier said.
Zilpaterol is used as a feed additive in the USA and other countries to promote weight gain, mainly in cattle. It is not approved for use in Europe. There are no health or welfare issues in a horse consuming feed containing the level of Zilpaterol found, the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) said.
The level of Zilpaterol which has been found in feed was less than 1 part per billion, well below the level which would trigger food or feed safety considerations.
The racing and sporting regulatory bodies have different priorities to feed regulators and so whilst posing no health risks to horses, it is prohibited for horses competing under rules.
The BEF Board has introduced a 14-day moratorium, during which time any horse that returns a positive result for Zilpaterol through testing at an event will not be subject to any regulatory action under the BEF’s anti-doping rules (known as BEFAR), provided the positive sample is consistent with the feed being contaminated with Zilpaterol. This moratorium period will be kept under constant review and may be extended depending upon updated information relating to the contamination.
This covers horses competing under the national rules of any BEF member bodies who are signed up to BEFAR. Horses competing in international shows are still subject to the rules and testing requirements of the FEI and will not be covered under the moratorium for any such shows.
“This is a situation where reason and logic are required and we’re grateful to the BEF Board and BEFAR technical committee for facilitating this moratorium,” BEF Chief Executive Iain Graham said.
“BETA and some UK feed brands have worked extensively to provide the facts which were a vital part in the process. We hope that this will put riders’ minds at rest and give time for the feed companies to work with their clients towards eliminating any contaminated feed from the supply chain. My thanks to all concerned.”
Earlier this week the British Horeracing Authority offered a seven day moratorium in racing during which any horse that returns a positive result for Zilpaterol through raceday, out-of-racing or Elective Testing will not be subject to regulatory action, provided the positive sample is consistent with the feed contamination. Elective testing has indicated that Zilpaterol is not present in horses that had contaminated feed withdrawn for four clear days. Investigations are ongoing so this is not yet considered a confirmed withdrawal period for the substance.
The following companies have notified BETA.
Allen and Page: Stud & young stock mix, Quiet mix, Herbal quiet mix, Old Faithfuls special, Quiet cubes & Sustain made up to October 10, 2020. The manufacturing date can be found on the white sew in label and is shown after Batch Number in the bottom right hand corner.
Baileys Horse Feeds: Baileys range of cubes (primarily, No.2 Working Cubes, No.4 Top Line Conditioning Cubes, No.11 Racehorse Cubes, No.23 Racing Light Cubes, No.24 Ease & Excel Cubes) and of these, only those with batches dated before October 8, 2020, which will appear as 08102020 printed on the bottom of the bag.
Hilight Horse Feeds: Range of cubes with batches manufactured before October 8, 2020.
Honeychop Horse Feeds: A limited number of their fibre range up to manufacturing week (41) which can be found on the label on the front of their bags.
Saracen Horse Feeds range of mixes: Mixes with a best before date prior to 8 April 2021 may be affected. Cube range is not affected.
Spillers, Winergy, Pegasus: Mixes and fibres manufactured before before October 10, 2020 (all cubes and balancers are unaffected); Mixes with Best Before date February 9, 2021 or before; Spillers Happy Hoof with Best Before date of April9, 2021 or before; All other chopped fibres with Best Before date of February 9, 2021, or before.