Suspected feed contamination: ‘significant progress’ made in investigation by supplier

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  • “Significant progress” has been made in an investigation into a suspected contamination involving a major feed supplier.

    On 2 October, France Galop announced it had launched an investigation after five horses tested positive to prohibited substance zilpaterol. The investigation pointed to a “common denominator in all five positive cases” of racehorse cubes, racehorse mix or opti-care balancer, marketed under the brand name Gain Equine Nutrition.

    At the time the company released a statement saying it could not confirm the feed had been the positive source.

    In a statement on 9 October Gain Equine Nutrition said the company wanted to give an update on the investigation into the “presence of an unapproved feed supplement” identified in its equine feed range.

    “We have made significant progress in our investigation and are working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), which is the regulatory body responsible for the feed sector in Ireland,” read the statement.

    “Following consultation with DAFM, we have re-commenced equine feed production and will be in contact with our customers regarding resumption of feed supply.”

    The statement added that the company continues to ask its equine customers to “refrain from feeding their current stock” of Gain Equine products.

    “We again apologise sincerely to our valued customers for the inconvenience caused by this incident and we are committed to promptly keeping you fully informed,” it read.

    On 11 October Gain said international molasses supplier ED&F had issued an “urgent action and recall notice” at 9pm on 10 October. The notice stated that some products were suspected of containing “minute traces” of zilpaterol, and although the initial levels detected were “extremely low”, the substance is banned in the EU.

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    In advice issued by British Equestrian (BEF), the organisation advises that people follow the advice from Gain and refrain from feeding any of their equine products until further notice from the company. Any horses which may have inadvertently ingested Zilpaterol should be withdrawn from competition.

    The BEF also advises those feeding Gain should keep complete records of batch numbers and samples of Gain feedstuffs from their yard over the last six weeks at least. Opened bags of feed should be sealed and stored away from any other feed, and a log of when the feed was purchased  and from which supplier should be kept.  The organisation also recommends owners and riders speak to their vet and nutritional adviser if they feed Gain products.

    “There is a risk that if you compete and your horse is being fed or has recently been fed a contaminated product you may test positive under FEI and our national equine anti-doping and controlled medication rules [BEFAR],” said a BEF spokesman.

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