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Home » Eggs-Benn-O-D’d? – Conor Benn cleared or Kentucky Fried idiot?

Eggs-Benn-O-D’d? – Conor Benn cleared or Kentucky Fried idiot?

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  • 4 min read

Conor Benn attempting to clear his name using the fact that chicken eggs have caused positive drug tests in the past may have a fatal flaw.

According to UK reports, the British welterweight is on the verge of being cleared by the World Boxing Council and reinstated in its ranking system.

However, the newspaper that first broke the story over Benn’s tests, The Daily Mail, stated previously that Benn would struggle to prove it.

According to The Mail, UK farmers cannot use clomifene to produce eggs on British soil. Therefore, it may prove impossible for Benn to have been contaminated with the drug.

Conor Benn eggs defense

Previous studies do back up Benn’s argument. However, if the UK has a blanket ban on using the substance for egg production, the whole defense may not have [chicken] legs.

A point raised in 2008 in a dossier sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] got green-lighted in 2019 – eleven years later.

The project title was ‘Are poultry and eggs a source of minute amounts of clomiphene in doping control samples.’

Researchers were: Mario Thevis, Philippe Delahaut, Eric Fichant, Nathalie Gillard

The institutions where the study would be carried out were the German Sport University Cologne, Germany, and CER Groupe Belgium.

A summary read: “To protect the athletic community, a controlled administration study is planned. Clomiphene will be administered to laying hens, and both the produced eggs and the edible tissue will be tested for residues of clomiphene.”

WADA study

In 2008, this argument was put to WADA.

“Recent studies have outlined a particularly long detection window for clomiphene in human urine. Further, few studies have demonstrated a significantly enhanced egg production if laying hens are treated with clomiphene.

“Hence, concerns have been raised. Whether trace amounts of clomiphene are present in eggs or poultry due to the potential use of clomiphene in the farming industry.

“Also, whether such trace amounts could lead to adverse analytical findings in doping controls. To protect the athletic community, a controlled administration study is planned.

“Clomiphene is administered to laying hens, and both the produced eggs and the edible tissue will be tested for residues of clomiphene.

“Further, eggs and edible tissue will be consumed by study volunteers, and urine samples will be subjected to routine doping control analytical assays to probe
for the presence of the prohibited substance.”

Another study completed in 2020 stated: “The selective estrogen receptor modulator [SERM] clomiphene is therapeutically used to induce ovulation. While prohibited as a doping agent in sports, it is frequently detected in sports drug testing urine samples.

“Few reports exist on clomiphene’s [illicit] use in the farming industry to increase the egg production rate of laying hens. It creates a risk that the eggs and edible tissue of these hens contain residues of clomiphene.

“To investigate the potential transfer of clomiphene into eggs and muscle tissue, laying hens were orally administered with clomiphene citrate at 10 mg/day for 28 days.

“To determine clomiphene residues in eggs, chicken breast, and chicken thigh, the target analyte was extracted from homogenized material with acetonitrile and subjected to ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry [UHPLC-MS/MS] analysis.

“The test method reached a quantification (LOQ) limit of 1 µg/kg. It was characterized by specificity, precision, trueness, and linearity.

Clomifene detected

“Analyses were performed on the whole egg, egg white, and yolk separately, and chicken muscle from breast and thigh. Clomiphene was detectable in eggs two days after the beginning of the drug administration period.

“The drug concentrations increased to 10-20 µg per egg within one week. After the withdrawal of clomiphene, residues decreased after four days. But traces of clomiphene were still detectable until the end of the study [14 days after the last administration].

“In the chicken’s muscle tissue, clomiphene levels up to 150 µg/kg [thigh] and 36 µg/kg [breast] were found. Six days after the last dose, tissue clomiphene concentrations fell below the LOQ.

“Overall, these results underline the concerns that clomiphene may be transferred into animal-derived food.

“Future research will therefore need to focus on assessing and minimizing the risk. It could cause unintentional adverse analytical findings in doping controls.”

That all sounds like positive news for Conor Benn if he overdosed on contaminated eggs. However, if those eggs cannot be found in the UK, Benn could end up looking like a Kentucky Fried idiot.

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