Feed code to cut dope-test failure risk

Jul 03 2009

A code of practice designed to reduce the risk of naturally-occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) contaminating horse feed and subsequent dope-test failures has been developed by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

The BETA UFAS NOPS Code will be launched to the industry on 14 May when feed and supplement manufacturers will be invited to register an interest in participating.

For companies opting to sign up to the code, an NOPS appendix will become part of their audit for Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS) accreditation.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has indicated that it is prepared to endorse the BETA UFAS NOPS Code. The system will also be made available to non-racing equestrian sports, with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), of which BETA is a member, aware of the project.

The code’s launch follows 18-months’ work by the BETA Feed Committee in conjunction with the BHA and National Trainers’ Federation (NTF), initially in response to a heightened incidence of positive dope-tests for the NOPS morphine in racehorses. These ‘positives’ coincided with increased cultivation of poppies in the UK, especially the papiver somniferum variety grown for the pharmaceutical industry. Feeds and supplements conforming to the BETA UFAS NOPS Code will be appropriately labelled to reassure trainers and owners who can face disqualification and the forfeiture of prize-money on return of positive dope-tests.

“By launching this new code, the industry is seeking to minimise the likelihood of NOPS contamination for the benefit of manufacturers, retailers and consumers,” said Claire Williams, executive director of BETA. “However, trainers should realise that the risks posed by NOPS, by their very nature, can never be completely eliminated.”

Companies participating in the code will also become part of an early warning system for potentially contaminated ingredients. Meanwhile investigations are ongoing into the possibility of obtaining industry-wide insurance against ‘positives’ occurring following Listed races.

For more information, contact BETA on 01937 587062 or email info@beta-uk.org

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